Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
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Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  733 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Bill Buxton and I share a common belief that design leadership together with technical leadership drives innovation. Sketching, prototyping, and design are essential parts of the process we use to create new products. Bill Buxton brings design leadership and creativity to Microsoft. Through his thought-provoking personal examples he is inspiring others to better understand...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (first published April 10th 2007)
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The title suggests that this book would be about designing user experiences in a holistic approach, as well as methods and techniques to brainstorm and prototype them, as opposed to just developing user interfaces.

However, it ends up meandering (for over 100 pages), trying to explain what the author's definition of "sketching" is, reiterating the importance of design throughout the book, and lamenting about how design isn't appreciated as a true industry. The author presents some real world exam...more
I thought this book would be about sketching user experiences but instead it is 400 pages of something or other.

Periodically there's valuable information in here, or at least a vaguely interesting idea, so it's not 1-star material, but by gee by gosh by gum by jove this guy canNOT get to the point. Let me tell you something right now: literally no one wants to hear your tangential anecdotes. A lot of writers do this, to add personality I guess, but I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to get t...more
You know how in high school English, you learned how to write a central thesis statement and then write supporting information around your thesis?

Well, this book has a great central thesis. And some of the supporting information is very interesting. But it gets pretty smushy the rest of the way, much more a rambling exploration of the history of design than a book about, well, sketching user experiences.

It's worth a read, but it would have been a much better article than book.
Jan 21, 2009 Alexis rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Newbie Designers?
I think the author is very long-winded and has a hard time getting to the point.. which I think is "sketching a lot of ideas and getting lots of feedback is good for ideation." You don't need a whole book to say this, especially one that goes off-topic so much. I think if you are already a designer, this book is just preaching to the choir and wont teach you anything new. I know the author is very smart and well respected, but this book just didn't reflect that.
Vuk Trifkovic
Good, but far more of a theoretical treatise than it sounds from the title. Still, bit of a classic, although if you've read lot of contemporary UX stuff you'll find either known already or intuitively right. Of course, Buxton was one of the originators of such ideas so always worth a read...
Mishaal M
Starts off slowly, but it does pick up. "Superficial hand-waving" as Bill Buxton himself describes it, the first half of the book just sprawls with concepts that are way abstract to grasp or apply in practical situtations for any aspiring or established designer. The case study on Apple perfectly encapsulates what the remainder of the book preaches. Sketching User Experiences offers a thought-provoking view on design thinking, let alone sketching and ideation. The examples are extremely relevant...more
Valuable book, but arguably, his talk at IxDA08 could save you the effort.

Lots of people come out of this talking about sketching, and that's a cool part of the book: lo-res, low production value methods of communicating ideas is a central theme of the book. It's particularly cool how he starts it with Renaissance sketching (cuz that stuff just looks cool), and finding quicker ways to ideate and creating a culture that focuses on the idea, not its execution is important.

But a larger aspect of t...more
Bar none, the most illuminating volume on design process that I have ever read. This leveled me up. If you work in design in any capacity, you need to read this, especially if you didn't go through an academic program for it.

For producers and engineers, this is just as valuable in helping to describe the correct role for design in the production process, and to help you understand how to best facilitate, use, and enable your designers to achieve the results you want.

In short, if you're even re...more
Sean Howard
Dec 01, 2008 Sean Howard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in improving their ability to innovate
A wonderful look at sketching and how it applies to problem solving, creativity and design thinking. A bit focused on industrial design in some places but worth a read. My favorite part is his story about the ceramics profession which I paraphrased about here:
Andrew Milmoe
Fantastic book. Often designers do not create the right level of fidelity for a prototype. The book got me thinking about what questions a prototype is trying to resolve... ensuring that they are created as quickly as possible, while still answering the important questions.
Egle Kristensen
A great book about user experience in general and how skecthing could improve creative side of interaction design.
In the first half part, the author is trying to explain what his definition of "sketching." As an interaction/experience designer, it's sort of things we(designers) already know and do but it's great to read for executive, business, account team or whatever team's name working with creative team to understand the importance of design.

What I like about this book is to stir, inspire, and offer lots of new design processes, methodology, ways and examples for interaction design in the last half part...more
Andrew Abernathy
The fundamental point of this book is to demonstrate the value of exposure to frequent, early, and rough user experience designs. I'm fully convinced of this - it's hugely beneficial to brainstorm, to rough out designs, to get lots of exposure for those designs, to avoid getting people so invested in specific solutions that they are resistant to acknowledging shortcomings or to better solutions, to avoid the situation where people are unwilling to make suggestions about a design because it seems...more
Richard Chappell
Dec 14, 2013 Richard Chappell rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Development Professionals
Shelves: technical
As an experienced professional in systems development, I found this book pretty spot on. While there is some discussion on techniques and methods, I found the real point of this book was the value of doing design before building. That's something we in the IT world could learn from our construction buddies. No one would think of building elaborate buildings without architects (as well as other design professionals) doing the design before ground is broken (with the exception of a very few notabl...more
Feb 28, 2008 Ellen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: designers, educators
Despite the dorky endorsement by Bill Gates on the cover, this is a very interesting book. It builds on a long line of "creative thinking" texts, and reasserts many ideas that will be familiar to anyone who has looked at this subject. What makes Buxton's book new and original is its focus on "sketching" as an informal, fast way to externalize ideas, and its look at how to manage the thought process when you are working with 3D objects and time-based media such as interface design. He shows us wa...more
First, skip the first hundred pages. The argument about design and its importance in companies and management is overdone and trite and needs to stop dominating every conversation we have about design. The rest of the book is a good exploration of sketching interactive experiences and makes you consider why and how you do this. At times things can feel overly academic, but I'll let it slide. You probably won't enjoy this book if you aren't a design geek in the first place. The problem becomes no...more
Dan Tasse
Sketch stuff! Sketch everything! Sketch a lot!
Sketch in different forms, sketch at different points in the design process. Don't make your sketches look finished. Mock up everything.
irfan darian
An inspiring resource for designers and innovators alike, regardless whether you are a product designer, software programmer, or simply one who is interested in knowing what innovation is simply all about. An interesting and insightful read for those who wants to know the ins and outs of the creativity process, and anything else in between. And interestingly enough, the sketching here is not about just about the physical act of sketching per se, but more so the act of understanding your users, a...more
If you are in the business of innovation, research, UX, design or UI, you need to read this book. Sure, it's a basic methodology for creating experiences and building interactions for user studies and stakeholder demos, but there's value in how it's broken down and thus in simplicity. I'm attempting to transition my current job track into SW focused into more innovative UX/SW combo with a management track, and it seems like this was a nice kick in the pants and in the right direction.

Industrial, product design and film storyboarding are areas where the design process is rich and detailed. Interaction design and software design have some aspects of design but without nearly enough detail. This may account for the generally low quality of software products. Buxton shows how "sketching" can be extended to the area of user experience. Many interesting examples are included often from 30+ years in the past when many of the still-current technological hot-topics were already antic...more
Finally, a book that addresses the issues between business, research and design in the UI world. Addressing the place design holds in this new world, which was always considered last. I just started this book and am already recommending it to anyone interested. It's well written, easy to read and digest. The author, Bill Buxton, uncovers the business, research, design processes that Apple went through, which is super interesting since they are so tight-lipped about what information the give out.
Montgomery Webster
This is not the book I was looking for. It is really about Sketching as a process, a methodology I have already been employing. There is nothing about Designing specifically, just getting the right design by sketching. As such, the first half of the book was not useful. In contrast, the second half goes into detail about sketching techniques and when they are relevant. Many of these were new to me and the case studies were certainly interesting. Overall, not recommended for experienced UXers.
Although the author does give a few good examples of thinking outside the box in terms of sketching user experiences, most of the book is a long, preachy and self-important. The author also tends to digress and tell everyone how great he is. The book could easily have been half of the 400 pages that it is now, without losing much content. With that said, the examples the authors brings up are interesting.
A little bit business book, a little bit prototyping methods references, this book is densely packed with enough insight to be revisited over and over as you grow and learn in design practice. Inspiring case studies, quirky allegories, and great visual illustrations abound.

The only thing is what is up with the typesetting? The book has typos and really weird layout. :-/
Marcia Johnston
My three-star rating represents one star for the writing, five for the content. When you get past the first-drafty writing, this book is an informative and inspiring introduction to the process of designing not just products but user experiences with products. Buxton's plentiful examples, including videos posted on the companion web site, are super.
Buxton can't decide if he's writing to executives/directors/managers or designers. If this book were split in two, to focus on those two distinct audiences, both books would be pretty good. As it is, however, it is mediocre, long-winded, and too academic. There are good ideas, but feel free to stop reading after page 70 or so.
I loved this book. Buxton is far more interested in what a sketch really is and how it is used than drawing a line, so if you're looking to build drawing skills this may not be the book for you, but if you want to see sketches in the realm of work and why they're important then I highly recommend this book.
David Escudero
Excelente reflexión sobre el diseño de interfaces software en particular y el diseño en general. Sin duda son las conclusiones de intelectual lleno de conocimiento y experiencia. Divulgativo en las cuestiones técnicas pero muy provocador en la generación de inquietudes.
Superb, often-referenced work on user experience. Plenty of examples for interaction designers and product managers alike. Of interest to anyone creating products or touching on any form of experience definition work. Truly great.
This is dense, but also one of the three most important books about being a contemporary designer I have ever read. It is both challenging and immediately applicable.

(I hope to write much more about it.)
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Trained as a musician, Bill Buxton began using computers over thirty years ago in his art. This early experience, both in the studio and on stage, helped develop a deep appreciation of both the positive and negative aspects of technology and its impact. This increasingly drew him into both design and research, with a very strong emphasis on interaction and the human aspects of technology. He first...more
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Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies)

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“Sketches are social things. They are lonely outside the company of other sketches and related reference material. They are lonely if they are discarded as soon as they are done. And they definitely are happiest when everyone in the studio working on the project has spent time with them.” 4 likes
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