Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
Bill Buxton
Publication Date
April 2007
Morgan Kaufmann
FROM AMAZON.COM: There is almost a fervor in the way that new products, with their rich and dynamic interfaces, are being released to the public — typically promising to make lives easier, solve the most difficult of problems, and maybe even make the world a better place. The reality is that few survive, much less deliver on their promise. The folly? An absence of design, and an over-reliance on technology alone as the solution.
We need design. But design as described here depends on different skillsets — each essential, but on their own, none sufficient. In this rich ecology, designers are faced with new challenges — challenges that build on, rather than replace, existing skills and practice.

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 community, product managers, and business executives. There is an emphasis on balancing the back-end concern with usability and engineering excellence (getting the design right) with an up-front investment in sketching and ideation (getting the right design). Overall, the objective is to build the notion of informed design: molding emerging technology into a form that serves our society and reflects its values.

Grounded in both practice and scientific research, Bill Buxton's engaging work aims to spark the imagination while encouraging the use of new techniques, breathing new life into user experience design.

  • Covers sketching and early prototyping design methods suitable for dynamic product capabilities: cell phones that communicate with each other and other embedded systems, "smart" appliances, and things you only imagine in your dreams;

  • Thorough coverage of the design sketching method which helps easily build experience prototypes-without the effort of engineering prototypes which are difficult to abandon;

  • Reaches out to a range of designers, including user interface designers, industrial designers, software engineers, usability engineers, product managers, and others;

  • Full of case studies, examples, exercises, and projects, and access to video clips that demonstrate the principles and methods.
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    One Comment
    Jeff Howard on March 26, 2011 11:27pm
    This book focuses mainly on sketching in the context of digital UX but Buxton's taxonomy regarding the characteristics of a good sketch applies to all kinds of design.

    Some of the techniques apply directly to the types of problems service designers face but even when it drifts further afield the book is a lot of fun. Thoroughly researched with great illustrations and full of interesting design history (mainly interaction design). It's not a perfect fit for service designers but it's the closest thing this community has to a primer on sketching the intangible and it belongs on our bookshelves.

    For what it's worth, the author has an expanded version of the bibliography on his website. Great stuff.

    Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
    By Bill Buxton
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