Importance of analog in digital experience design

Experience design needs to break out of its digital box in order to become successful. A physical space for ideas is essential even if you are largely working alone. Sticky notes, paper, markers, pencils, pens… Ball point… Gel tip… #2 pencils… You get the idea.

Designing on screen can be like trying to understand a sentence by looking at one letter at a time. If you want to really understand the narrative your are designing, print every element out and post it to a wall. Move pages around to put like with like and in the order of different scenarios. When you come across a hole in the flow, put a temporary placeholder to complete it.

There is something about filling a physical space with boxes and arrows that makes things gel. Also, others can walk by and see it and ask you questions you may not have thought of. That will keep you honest.

It is important to understand the footprint of an experience. You may be designing 43 scenarios (or use cases or stories or epics) but then you realize that the same five screens get most of the action. Or that you find yourself walking around a lot to perform common tasks. You will always find ways to gain efficiencies and eliminate steps or information.

Digital is great for digital, but sometimes you need a little analog.

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