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

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,462 ratings  ·  77 reviews
"Sketching User Experiences" approaches design and design thinking as something distinct that needs to be better understood-by both designers and the people with whom they need to work- in order to achieve success with new products and systems. So while the focus is on design, the approach is holistic. Hence, the book speaks to designers, usability specialists, the HCI com ...more
Paperback, 443 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers
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Mar 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Adam Wiggins
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computing, design
Rambly, but full of great insights for anyone who creates products (designers, engineers, product managers).

A selection of my Kindle highlights:

## Notation

Notation is a tool of thought. A problem properly represented is largely solved.

## Sketches

Disposable: If you can’t afford to throw it away when done, it is probably not a sketch. The investment with a sketch is in the concept, not the execution. By the way, this doesn’t mean that they have no value, or that you always dispose of them. Rather,
Alexis Morris
Jan 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ue_tech
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.
Vuk Trifkovic
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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... ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I read a +400 pages book completely and I enjoyed every second of it. As a CS student, I'm amazed of how much it shapes your vision of design and HCI, giving you a whole new perspective as you gain knowledge of a vast bibliography of history, art and design books. I fell in love once again with knowledge. Every page is worth the reading but specially that last chapter that closed the book with an invitation to make your dreams come true.

And I'll do it. I'm inspired. A lif
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sean Howard
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design, non-fiction
My number one favourite book on user experience design, interaction design or whichever term you prefer. The central premise, that without sketching there is no design, is so profound. It is hard to overstate the importance of making an effort to understand it but more importantly to practice it.
Nora Morales
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent book, for academics and students, Rapid Prototyping and iteration of design process
Egle Kristensen
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great book about user experience in general and how skecthing could improve creative side of interaction design.
Alper Çuğun
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best design books out there. That it is meandering and not directly applicable makes it only better.
Brad Needham
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Other readers have pointed out two weaknesses of the book 1) it's a bit rambling, covering a grab bag of loosely-connected topics that were of interest to the author. 2) it's dated: the past 10 years have seen major changes in technology, hot topics for products, and methods of design and product development that render some parts of the book irrelevant or quaint.

That said, I found this book valuable for its articulation of what is sketching vs. prototyping and its numerous examples of methods o
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: digital-strategy
It was probably much more ground breaking at the time it was written. But reading it today - out of its original context - I imagine it is only relevant for people just getting in to design. Even then, despite the occasional fun anecdote, it really takes it time at getting to the point. I think I would've gained more from the book it was written in 60 pages instead of 420.

I was a little disappointed to see, that the book doesn't convey a lot of examples on how to convey user experience (like ho
Jonathan Glasmeyer
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-ux
Minus: Longwinded, stream-of-concious-y, no real structure.
Plus: I like the anecdotal style, the message of the importance of sketching, the three-dimensionality in which the concept of sketching is explored through various contexts. I also like the thoughts on experience design and "design in the wild".
Anirudh Madhavan
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really awesome even if you already know about sketching and User Experiences. I got a good primer for my UX growth and I feel it's worth at least a read and at most put them into use in your techniques. ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Buxtons perspective on sketching even though his opinions can be agreed or disagreed upon in terms of how to interpret a sketch and prototype. Nonetheless, he challenges the thought of them making them useful to one's own insight. ...more
Maisey Jay
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I originally thought the book would be about improving drawing. I was wrong but not disappointed. I’m not a designer or engineer so it was especially interesting to learn how these professionals effect everyday life through consumerism.
Akshay Bakshi
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're serious about design or want to understand the design process and its importance, this is a good read. ...more
Kathy Hardy
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
some amazing quotes and views about the sketching process and its relation to design.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book / textbook to get started with user experiences.
Aga Szóstek
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book for those who want to grasp the intricacies of the design process.
Dea Buus
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I think this book was great once. Now most of the ideas are ingrained in UX and design, and don't seem very novel. I had a hard time getting through the book, and in the end chose not to finish it. ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, read-twice
"new" product is far more valuable than "n+1" product for an organization. One of the "new"-product strategy, according to the book, is M&A. ...more
Mar 03, 2017 added it
Shelves: got-tired-of
Very text heavy, read only if you're invested. ...more
Phil Keys
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that discusses the ideation phases of product development. Through sketching, and specifically the fidelity of sketches, you can get better feedback from both your teammates and potential users of your work.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I am completely new to the world of UX, so I was looking for something that would be more technique focused rather than purely theoretical. The theory is valuable, make no mistake about that, and the author has some great insights when it comes to thinking about the design process, but it really is just a book on sketching methods, or rather the theory behind the methods. The author appears quite intent on hammering home the idea that sketches should be quick, disposable, and leave the design op ...more
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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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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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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.” 5 likes
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