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The Virtues of Low-fi

The Virtues of Low-fi

With all our fancy tools, many are eager to jump into higher fidelity comps. This talk and mini-workshop on sketching was about staying low-fi for as long as possible in the design process, and treating design deliverables as process rather than product.

Presented at Amsterdam UX Crawl @ Catawiki in Amsterdam.


Stephen Hay

July 25, 2018

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  1. The Virtues of Low-fi Stephen Hay @ Catawiki UX Crawl

    • July 25, 2018
  2. Hi! I’m Stephen.

  3. Design/UX Deliverables

  4. “The perfect is the enemy 
 of the good.” —Voltaire

  5. Not the thing. Not the thing. The thing.

  6. Design processes

  7. Short low / long high Low-fi High-fi “I’ve been thinking

    about this for a whole hour, and I’ve got a great idea!”
  8. Gradual low to high Low High Kinda high Kinda high

    Kinda high Kinda high Kinda high
  9. Long low / short high Low-fi High-fi “I’m starting to

    understand the problem.”
  10. The most important question:
 What’s most important?

  11. The design funnel https://changethis.com/manifesto/show/48.04.DesignFunnel Many designers start here. Define Discover

    Generate Create Design Values & Goals Moods & Metaphors Ideas, Define a concept A Visual Language
  12. Most of this can be low-fi

  13. Fantasy-fi Usually needs high fidelity Interaction Sensory 
 Experience Content

 structure “High” fidelity that 
 doesn’t offer much more than low fidelity, but requires High-fidelity effort. It’s the illusion of reality. Many “static” prototypes fall into this category. 
 High-fi wireframes also.
  14. The virtues of low-fi

  15. 1. Iterations are 
 quick and cheap

  16. 2. Low-fi tooling is 
 minimal and flexible.

  17. 3. Low-fi answers 
 questions early. “Nice. What about (x)?”

    “Oh, shit.”
  18. 4. Low-fi encourages quantitative ideation.

  19. 5. Low-fi encourages 
 “most important” thinking. It’s a meeting

    between your brain and the problem, with few distractions from tooling and processes.
  20. Things that can be low-fi: • Sketching • Storyboards •

    Diagrams • (Paper) prototypes (but be careful!) • Planning • etc. These are actually subsets of sketching
  21. Sketching

  22. Sketching is not art.

  23. None
  24. A simple sketching process for ideation…

  25. Thumbnails

  26. No detail As many as possible As quickly as possible

  27. Roughs PHOTO: Mike Rohde. Visit his blog: http://rohdesign.com/weblog/

  28. Only a few, max. Flesh out your best ideas Focus

    on more detail (but not too much) Annotate, Ask & Answer questions
  29. Thumbnails -> selection -> Roughs -> selection -> Comp/Prototype

  30. Exercise 1: Sketch some thumbnails 
 for your project. 1.

    No detail; just capture ideas! 2. Make as many as you can in 5 minutes. It’s a numbers game! 3. Don’t censor yourself; all ideas are relevant at this point.
  31. Exercise 2: Make some rough sketches. 1. Flesh out your

    best thumbnail ideas to see if they hold up. 2. More detail, but not too much!
  32. Sketching is one of your most important skills. It’s a

    translator between your brain and paper. It’s a note-taking tool. It’s a communication tool. It’s a thinking tool. It’s a filter. It’s a wayfinder. It’s the lowest of low-fi. Do it always.
  33. Thank you! @stephenhay