In Class Group Brainstorming

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File:Cs160-sp14-04.pdf

Readings

Materials

Featured Responses

Emily Sheng - 2/2/2014 19:17:06

1. I felt "sharpen the focus" and "number your ideas" were the most effective suggestions. Sometimes I would get stuck on a topic, but was able to generate more ideas if I asked a different but related question. Also, numbering the ideas gave me a sense of momentum, so that when I got stuck, I could see that I had almost a dozen ideas and was more motivated to ask different questions about old topics. The suggestion that I believe to be the least effective would probably be to "get physical," because sometimes it'd be best to have certain materials or be in a specific environment that we don't have access to. I brainstormed by myself, and I definitely feel my brainstorm session could have been more productive with other people. I think it's more effective to have people of different backgrounds generate ideas together.

2. A digital device will usually take some time to turn on. In addition, advanced features and tools usually take some time to learn, and sometimes sorting through files to find a previous sketch can take time. For an example of an instance where a sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype: imagine sketching the checkout layout of a shopping website. Some of the screen is devoted to a picture of your item, another part is devoted to text information about the item, another calculates the total cost, and yet another has options to proceed or discard item. By hand, we can easily divide a paper into different sections, add in simple pictures of items, buttons, and text. Keeping in mind speed while sketching in slideware can lead to an undesired contrast between super straight dividing lines and cursor-drawn pictures. In addition, spacing and font placement may look weird. By contrast, if we were to create a high fidelity prototype in slideware, this would definitely take much longer to get everything aligned, while it essentially stores the same information about the sketch as the both alternatives.


Ian Birnam - 2/1/2014 18:00:17

1) Kelley's suggestion to "number your ideas" while brainstorming helped out a surprising amount for being such a small thing to do. When I've brainstormed before, I always used bullet points or dashes to jot down ideas, or sometimes just paragraph breaks. But numbering them down as I went really helped as a motivator, and got me much more involved in the process since it created a goal to work towards. Also, as the reading points out, it was very useful in referring back to previous ideas, or being able to combine features from multiple ideas into one.

The "stretch your mental muscles" suggestion was probably the least effective. I actually tried doing a couple brain warm-ups like crosswords and quizzes before I started brainstorming, but found that it didn't seem to make a significant difference compared to when I've brainstormed previously. However, after doing the reading, maybe I was just doing the wrong warm-ups and exercises for the task at hand. I want to give it another shot before I give up on it completely.

Something I did differently (or at least, wasn't suggested in the readings) was I took a break and came back to it at a later time. I got stuck after coming up with my first batch of ideas, and decided to step away from the problem and came back to it later in the day. Being able to step away allowed me to clear my mind and come back to it with a refreshed mind and set of eyes, which allowed me to finish the brainstorm.

2) As the beginning of the readings stated, sketches are much more beneficial when it comes to capturing the essence of an idea when given limited time. The author was able to quickly, and blindly sketch the screen idea he saw in Avatar, which is something you can't do in slideware, as illustrated by the example at the end of the reading. Another benefit would be ease of collaboration with sketching, which is still fairly limited in slideware (besides programs like Google Presentations).

As a somewhat-realistic example, your boss calls you up last minute, saying that the high fidelity prototype that you had 1 week to do now needs to be presented in 15 minutes due to a surprise visit from management. Of course you procrastinated, and don't have anything to work off if in terms of slideware. If you tried to do it from scratch using slideware or other technologies, chances are you wouldn't be able to get it working in time. However, through sketching, you could capture the essence of your design while being able to clearly indicate and annotate certain aspects of the sketch. You could even grab your group member and have him/her help you by adding on to the sketch if need be. The speed and ease of sketching can come in handy for situations like these.

Peter Wysinski - 2/3/2014 14:36:36

Throughout my brainstorm I found Kelley’s suggestion to build and jump during brainstorming most effective. When ‘stuck’ I would branch from my previous idea and come up with an ideas that tackled a perviously stated problem from a different perspective. The least effective of Kelly’s suggestions was to number ideas as you come up with them. I didn’t do this till the very end as I was more efficiently to quickly type ideas down as they came to me. Once my brainstorming session was over I fixed up the grammar and coherence of my ideas and then proceeded to numbered them. During my next brainstorming session I would cover physical surfaces with paper and write my ideas out around the room; I found that using my laptop to keep track of ideas was challenging as it made it easy to delete and modify ideas as I decided that they were to ‘silly’. Furthermore, I occasionally find myself distracted when using a laptop and switched focus from brainstorming to checking emails. Two main drawbacks of sketching in ‘slideware’ are that the device takes time to turn on and you have to save your sketches as files which prevents you from easily flipping through them. Sketching on paper allows you to quickly jot down your ideas since you don't have to constrain yourself to using predefined ‘callouts’ and clipart that programs such a PowerPoint provide. Furthermore, a hand sketch looks more natural as ‘slideware’ often has predefined rulers and gridlines that you inadvertently constrains yourself to. A sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype when you want to quickly make note of what you saw in the real world. Furthermore, sketching is advantageous as it enables you to quickly create multiple designs of a product before the final version come to fruition. This allows for others to critique and give feedback on your designs that in-turn lets you iterate quickly — something that a high fidelity prototype would not allow you to do.


Reading Reponses

Andrew Fang - 1/30/2014 21:32:52

I believe Kelley’s first two rules are the most useful. By sharpening our focus, asking the right questions, and focusing on the user, we were able to come up with many more ideas. And through the entire process, we heeded rule 2: encouraging wild ideas and trying to go for quantity. For us, numbering was not as effective. If we tried referring to idea “number 5”, we still had to go find what idea that was, whereas referring to an idea by a quick descriptor such as “The multi-gps idea” was more effective. While we did a lot of writing during our brainstorm, we didn’t really go and get physical props, nor did we do warm-up exercises. However, we did heed her “six ways to kill a brainstorm” rules, and our brainstorm session was effective as it was in a more relaxed environment.

Not only is it often much faster to sketch something out on paper than to do it in slideware, but grabbing a pencil and paper is often more convenient than turning on a computer, opening the application, and then clicking through the tools to draw. It is easier to capture an idea or an image on paper than on screen: our mastery of the pen surpasses our ability to use a mouse or trackpad to draw something. A sketch can be more effective than a high-fidelity prototype when you want to jot down an idea quickly. For example, say you are eating dinner with a friend when you suddenly think about an ingenious new way to design cups. In this case, it is much better to jot down your idea with a sketch than to go home, open up photoshop, and design the object you though up (by the time you get home, you may have already forgotten what the key points of your idea were).


Ian Birnam - 2/1/2014 18:00:17

1) Kelley's suggestion to "number your ideas" while brainstorming helped out a surprising amount for being such a small thing to do. When I've brainstormed before, I always used bullet points or dashes to jot down ideas, or sometimes just paragraph breaks. But numbering them down as I went really helped as a motivator, and got me much more involved in the process since it created a goal to work towards. Also, as the reading points out, it was very useful in referring back to previous ideas, or being able to combine features from multiple ideas into one.

The "stretch your mental muscles" suggestion was probably the least effective. I actually tried doing a couple brain warm-ups like crosswords and quizzes before I started brainstorming, but found that it didn't seem to make a significant difference compared to when I've brainstormed previously. However, after doing the reading, maybe I was just doing the wrong warm-ups and exercises for the task at hand. I want to give it another shot before I give up on it completely.

Something I did differently (or at least, wasn't suggested in the readings) was I took a break and came back to it at a later time. I got stuck after coming up with my first batch of ideas, and decided to step away from the problem and came back to it later in the day. Being able to step away allowed me to clear my mind and come back to it with a refreshed mind and set of eyes, which allowed me to finish the brainstorm.

2) As the beginning of the readings stated, sketches are much more beneficial when it comes to capturing the essence of an idea when given limited time. The author was able to quickly, and blindly sketch the screen idea he saw in Avatar, which is something you can't do in slideware, as illustrated by the example at the end of the reading. Another benefit would be ease of collaboration with sketching, which is still fairly limited in slideware (besides programs like Google Presentations).

As a somewhat-realistic example, your boss calls you up last minute, saying that the high fidelity prototype that you had 1 week to do now needs to be presented in 15 minutes due to a surprise visit from management. Of course you procrastinated, and don't have anything to work off if in terms of slideware. If you tried to do it from scratch using slideware or other technologies, chances are you wouldn't be able to get it working in time. However, through sketching, you could capture the essence of your design while being able to clearly indicate and annotate certain aspects of the sketch. You could even grab your group member and have him/her help you by adding on to the sketch if need be. The speed and ease of sketching can come in handy for situations like these.


Tien Chang - 2/1/2014 18:38:14

1) One of the most effective rules of brainstorming is to sharpen your focus. I believe that having an open-ended topic in which to develop outward solutions for a problem will allow more ideas to flow freely between brainstormers. Having playful rules was also an effective rule when I was brainstorming with a group of CS160 students. We were all very accepting of all ideas, so I felt comfortable sharing "unconventional" ideas.

Numbering our ideas did not seem as effective as the other rules followed; I felt like we were just reaching a quantity goal but was not sure of the quality of some ideas.

I did not utilize the "build and jump" idea. Instead, our group of brainstormers created redesign ideas from the problems stated by our interviewees. We also wrote down our ideas on a Google Doc instead of on Post-it notes on a wall. Our brainstorming group did not "stretch our mental muscles" as well. We went cold into the brainstorm. Nor did we "get physical" with drawings or sketches.

2) Benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware is that sketching on paper is easily in groups, sketching on paper has a lower cost and potentially lower time effort than creating a prototype, sketching on paper can occur anywhere. A sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when you are capturing a design idea. For example, when creating a mobile application to play your favorite music, it is much easier to design a prototype on paper, as the focus is on portraying the idea with a general layout of simple play, pause, stop buttons or a list of songs, rather than on laying out specific details such as album cover images or copying layouts as templates for other activities.


Luke Song - 2/1/2014 22:20:51

I was quite surprised that I practiced a few "brainstorm-killing" methods of brainstorming. For example, I usually think of manageable, practical ideas, and try to suppress outrageous ones. However, I now understand that the less achievable ideas can contribute by stirring up conversation and thinking in another direction. On the other hand, I disagree about the author's advice to number ideas. It smells of quota-filling rather than going for quality. Of course our lives are filled with deadlines, but in this case, I find it better to remember ideas by description rather than number, and if I can remember one of the ideas generated, it will be because it was a good one.

Sketching on paper can be superior to using software, simply because the use of things like text boxes, geometric shapes and lines, the color palette, and cursor control interfere with our brain's idea generation too much. Using paper, on the other hand, is much more natural, and we don't get distracted from our primary goal as easily. Plus, paper can be folded, handed to others without too much hassle, and torn apart. However, using one of those fancy sketch pads is something that I would highly recommend, because the movements one makes is exactly the same as when using paper, and is much faster, cleaner, and versatile; that is, as long as some time is spent learning how to use the hardware and software.


Gregory Quan - 2/2/2014 8:51:44

My brainstorm differed from Kelley's in that I did not brainstorm with other people, and it probably would have been helpful to have other people's input to get different perspectives. His suggestions to sharpen focus and "build and jump" are most effective because they help to keep the team on track and focused on an appropriate range of ideas. I used these techniques in my brainstorming session to start thinking about one problem (improving GPS) and then expanding to several related ideas (helping to find the best transit option).

Kelley's suggestions to draw everything and use a lot of space to draw ideas were not that useful to me since I was brainstorming alone and did not need to convey the ideas visualized in my head to anyone else, but I could see where these suggestions could be useful in a group setting. His suggestion to avoid writing everything down does not seem very helpful, however, since I like to write a few notes about each idea in order to remember what it was about.

The main benefit of sketching over using slideware is that the sketch can be done much faster. Also, a paper sketch can be done anywhere as long as pencil and paper are handy, whereas a PowerPoint sketch must be completed on a computer. A paper sketch also allows people to focus on high-level ideas instead of getting stuck on small details.

For example, if I showed a PowerPoint sketch to someone, they may get hung up on my choice of color or font, which are details that aren't that important in the initial conception phase. A paper sketch would allow them to imagine their own color and font choices and focus on the overall concept.


Brian Yin - 2/2/2014 15:05:47

1) I felt like the first suggestion was the one we were able to use effectively in our brainstorm. There were some times we would have no ideas until we were able to frame the problem in a way that wasn't too limiting or to broad. Once we were able to do so, ideas flowed much more easily. The sixth suggestion was not as helpful, as I felt that the previous research somewhat limited the free flowing of ideas as both of us had conceptions of things we thought were good ideas. During this brainstorming session, I tried to be more open to ideas which I had concerns about and to refrain from comments. However, I feel that next time, I will try to be less conscious with ideas. Often times, I would shoot out an idea with clarifications that it probably wouldn't work, which prevented the idea from being expanded upon and also created a precedent to reject other ideas.

2) Paper sketches are a lot faster to create than slideware. Paper sketches don't require as much specificity as slideware (which require you the specify things like test size, font) which allows you to produce them more quickly and focus on more defining features of an application. Moreover, paper sketches are easier to be edited by groups within the same room, assuming the slideware isn't being edited via Google drive or similar software. Sketches are more effective than high fidelity prototypes during brainstorming sessions as they can be rapidly produced and tossing out a sketch is much less expensive than tossing out a high fidelity prototype.


Tristan Jones - 2/2/2014 12:52:26

1) In retrospect (I did the brainstorm before finishing the reading), I think that the most useful tip was to number your ideas so you can see where you are based on the goal you have set. It also helps you compare and reference them when you're trying to pick the best idea out of the pack. I also think the tip about build and jump is useful - branching out on your old ideas is an effective way to get more of them.

Least effective? I guess the "get physical" tip isn't super helpful when designing software. It's more focused on designers trying to put a physical object onto the market. It doesn't work too well for software. However, his "get physical" tip about pantomiming the users actions is pretty relevant and useful.

Something that I would do differently is to add a rule that it's ok to include ideas that have been done before. Just try to expand on them and see if you can find something new. It is kind of plagiarism but so long as you end up with a new idea at the end it doesn't really count.

2) Issues with powerpoint vs paper:

  1. Using a mouse. Mouse drawing is rather lackluster because you usually get jagged movement lines when you approximate a line onto a 2D matrix. lines get more jagged when you press down the mouse because this affects how you move the mouse. this causes a jump when you click/unclick
  2. Clip art. yeah it's pretty but you have to look it up and it doesn't always show what you want it show. much better to sketch it out first and then send it to an artist for a custom mockup
  3. sharing: it's easier to hand a person a piece of paper than send a pppx or jpg

A specific example where sketching is better is when you're short on time and need to sent something to a colleague. your colleague already knows the general layout of the app so you don't need to give him a fancy mockup made in powerpoint, s/he can fully comprehend what you want with a simple sketch. sketches save time too. However, if you want to show a feature to your manager or someone not familiar with the app mockups can do a better job at communicating the end result of a design feature.


Munim Ali - 2/2/2014 13:00:14

1. During my brainstorming session for the design assignment I found three of Kelly's suggestions were particularly effective:

a) Sharpen the focus: Each time my partner and I tried to come up with an idea, we would first think about what kind of problem we were trying to solve and the audience we were solving it for. We even imagined what we would do if placed in said audience's shoes. This helped us come up with more solid ideas rather than thinking about just getting the assignment done and coming up with vague ideas.

b) Number your ideas: We found this suggestion to be an integral part of our brainstorming process. Not only did it allow us to easily refer to previous ideas, but it also helped to keep us motivated as we could quantize our progress.

c)Allowing 'silly ideas': We definitely allowed silly ideas because they kept us from getting bogged down and the comedic relief was a welcome addition to our thinking process. More importantly, some modifications to these 'silly ideas' actually lead to some really good ideas which we included in our final draft.

I think the least effective suggestion was to not give everyone a turn as I feel that having more opinions about something is definitely worthwhile. However, I admit that we worked in a team of just 2 people so I might not have actually observed the true vale of this suggestion.

2. Some benefits of sketching on paper rather than slideware include:

a) Ability to draw more natural looking curves rather than having jagged edges as is the case with slideware. Paper sketches have a more 'organic' feel to them.

b) Time invested in making slideware reasonably good looking is far too much when compared to that of sketching on paper.

One example where a sketch may be more useful than a high fidelity prototype is in game design - more specifically character design in games. I feel that sketching allows the designer to be less restrictive and also also prevents the designer from being reluctant to start from scratch (less time investment).


Anju Thomas - 2/2/2014 16:00:55

1. For the design assignment, I conducted an individual brainstorm. During the process, I first sharpened the focus as suggested by Kelly by analyzing the problems posed by the two interviewees. This was very effective in narrowing my focus and creating something based on the user's needs and wants, instead of randomly designing an interface. Also by choosing the right questions, such as “what can help a user communicate with others while remaining focused on their activity”, instead of finding improvements of keypad designs, I was able to come up with ideas such as capturing the live footage of what is ahead so the user can multitask easily instead of solely focusing on texting. Instead of questioning how we can better design keypads for] messaging, I also looked at a broader spectrum of ideas such as writing directly on the screen, making it easier and faster for the user. I also focused on the user's requirements and convenience rather than fulfilling my personal needs, as suggested by Kelly. “Numbering your ideas” also seemed very effective in expanding the possibilities of ideas instead of sticking constantly to a few, as it forced the person to come up with a certain quantity. “Build and Jump” also seemed a very helpful suggestion. As when brainstorming we can narrows ourselves to our own ideas, perspectives and opinions. To expand and build upon other ideas, I searched the web for models of phones that addressed similar problems. For instance while coming up with ideas on how to address user scaling problem, I kept on thinking of ideas on how I can use font size and layout on the screen. However, when I searched ideas on how to better scaling when reading and mistyping errors, I came upon the idea of holographic projection, which I had not even brought into the context of texting previously. This was very effective in helping me think outside the box. The least effective rules for me include getting physical. It can be helpful in some aspects such as getting a feel on the current usage patterns to think of ways to improve it. However, when trying to look at physical products, such as my phone, though it gave me some ideas on some of the problems faced by users, it also narrowed my focus by trying to come up with a design similar to present forms with minor changes, instead of thinking of something complete out of range. Another rule that was not as effective was “The Space Remembers”. Though it can help visualize the idea by making design and sticking on the wall, it might also be time consuming, which could be used to generate and research more ideas or problems.

2. Some benefits to sketching with a pen and paper instead of Powerpoint or other sketching software as suggested by the writers include cost, time, and quality. Drawing with a pencil and paper requires only some utilities that are very cheap, unlike using a piece of professional software which might cost much more. Another major factor is time, as sketching with a pen and pencil takes a very short time and everyone is usually used to using these tools. However sketching using software might need previous experience, without which it might take to learn basic tools for sketching. Using software also might take time on other aspects of the interface, which are not related to the design, such as navigating through menus, palettes, dialog boxes and screens. Using paper instead of a high fidelity prototype can also allow the user to make easy changes as well as share their ideas with others through group collaboration and interaction. This can be less effective with high fidelity prototypes where the group members find difficulty drawing simultaneously and also using physical forms of interaction such as gestures to convey an idea, which is not very possible when using high fidelity prototypes. Also the sketches can be more descriptive when sketching as while using high fidelity examples the user is limited to using certain shapes or bounds.. Pencil and paper is also more portable to carry across regions and sketches can be made spontaneously when doing other activities. For instance, as the writer described, an example of a scenario is where a sketch could be easily made while watching a movie and coming across an interesting idea unlike using computers as they are not taken everywhere. A small sketching notebook can especially be much handier in noting down ideas while on the go than a computer. Also it is possible to make sketches without looking or focusing on it as long as it conveys the main details of the design. Another specific example of when a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when trying to design and share ideas with a group while watching a documentary on the problems faced by the users when texting. In this scenario, the person can note down problems and sketches of possible ideaswhile directly talking to a user, so they won't forget important or relative information while brainstorming with the peers when the interviews or research is over. In this case, a pencil and paper is more effective as it easy to carry around while meeting different users as well as allows the person to note down user info or suggestions quickly during the interview itself . Whereas making a high fidely prototype on the scene would take both time and energy.


Albert Luo - 2/2/2014 16:26:28

I found that the most effective rules and suggestions were to have playful rules and to sharpen the focus. When I first started, I found that by finding edge cases for all ideas, that meant that there wasn't anything to put down, because these ideas were "bad" and "impossible." But, by accepting even ludicrous ideas and encouraging them, dozens of other better more useful ideas popped up. Also, by focusing on improving specific apps or asking questions about how to solve a customer's problem, it became easier to come up with detailed, specific ideas instead of broad ones that didn't really have substance. The least effective rules were to number ideas, to write everything down on a wall, and to get physical. These rules were ineffective mostly because there weren't that many people, not many ideas were needed, and there were no resources to physically build stuff. Instead of having someone mediating the session, my group just tried to get the assignment done. To that end, it was useful to take brain breaks and have focused times of trying to rehash, reinvent either existing ideas or go at the problem from a different perspective.

Benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware have a lot to do with the fact that slideware is general done on a computer. This fact means that slideware is limited only to a computer terminal, generally takes a longer time to finish, and has greater capacity for details. Sketching on paper, on the other hand, is pretty informal. It can be done anywhere, as long as paper and pencil are available, and is a quick way to quickly and easily capture ideas. When sketching on paper, the designer doesn't have to worry about little details such as text size, the look of buttons, or spatial layout, so his focus can be solely on capturing the main idea of the design. Sketching on paper also has the advantage of allowing multiple designers to collaborate. On a computer, the input method is limited to only a mouse, while sketching on a paper allows several people to draw at the same time, thus potentially generating more ideas and even completing the sketch faster.

Imagine you are on a design team, tasked with creating an interface for a brand-new application. To create it in slideware would mean hours spent in making only one interface, maybe even only a small part in the application, whereas by sketching it in paper, you can come up with dozens of ideas and designs and possibly capture most of the intended user experience within those hours. In this example, sketching is more effective than a high fidelity prototype because of its speed and flexibility. If one design or feature ends up being scrapped, then there is no regret about having spent hours creating a slide to display that feature. It'll just be a piece of paper that took a few minutes to sketch out. Furthermore, time is spent creating new ideas, not stuck adjusting pixels on a screen.


Haley Rowland - 2/2/2014 16:34:22

1) In my brainstorming session, we definitely utilized Kelley’s notions of “playful rules” and “build and jump.” We didn’t place any judgment on the ideas we were generating to keep the stream of ideas continuous and allow for more creativity. I think the “build and jump” strategy is very important. We started our brainstorm discussing navigational tools for pedestrians and bicyclists. Once we had somewhat exhausted our stream of ideas in this category, we jumped to talking about applications for skiing. It was this shift that ultimately gave a key insight for a more innovative idea for bicycle navigation. We didn’t really employ any visual sketching of ideas (instead we simply typed up one-liners to capture the idea), but this may have been useful to incorporate. Although we didn’t do any brainstorming warm-ups, I think our previous interviews and experience with the first design experiment provided a good background for the brainstorm.

2) When sketching with slideware, it is often harder to get the vision in your head into a sketch because using the various lines/shapes/clipart provided doesn’t afford the same fluidity and degree of freedom as a free-hand sketch. Sketches are more effective than a high fidelity prototype during brainstorming because the goal is to get the essence of the idea onto paper quickly, not get great fidelity.


Steven Wu - 2/2/2014 16:40:25

1. ‘Playful rules’ has to be the most effective rule in a brainstorming session. It's important to get a good conversation started by stating there are no bad ideas and allowing the members all go for as many ideas as possible. However, I wish I had seen 'sharpen your focus' before the assignment since many of the ideas constructed in the brainstorm were too product focused. As for what was least effective, I found it working with two people who aren't familiar with the design process difficult to work with, so I eventually generated my own ideas in my homework submission. I think the rule that broke my brainstorming session was 'everybody gets a turn'. Between the three of us brainstorming, each person had to meet a quota of four ideas. This inhibited the creative process since we would go around, taking turns listening to one another finish. In retrospect, I would require no one to act as secretary by documenting the ideas. Maybe it's better to set up a voice recording of the brainstorming session and if it is needed, individuals could doodle their ideas during the session. Writing out the details of each idea slows down the momentum of the creative process, so I believe having a playback recording of the brainstorming session would have been beneficial.

2. Sketching on paper doesn't require a computer to boot up and it's fairly easy to do without learning how to navigate the different buttons and icons in slideware. A traditional sketch can be more effective when you don't have the time to fully worry about the layout by toggling around with the fonts, color, alignment, graphics and buttons. A paper sketch can also quickly display a generalized concept of where certain interface elements would appear. If you do create a low-fidelity digital sketch quickly in slideware, the presentation and layout of the digital prototype will not be able to convey the original message you were trying to achieve in the paper sketch (with the same reasons in the poor alignment and the sizing of interfaces).


Brenton Dano - 2/2/2014 17:01:56

1. We first started off with the focus question, "How to make an app for using mobile on the go." Then, my roommate suggested that we instead don't think of it as an app, as that might limit our ideas generated. Instead, he suggested that we just think of problems users face on the go and we can use the smart phone as a tool to solve those problems. This is similar to Kelley's rules of "Sharpen the focus." The idea of an app was too constricting so we instead thought how to solve the users problem and use the smart phone as a "magical computing device" which could help us solve the problems. Numbering the ideas didn't help so much because we instead put 5 or 6 ideas on one sticky note. Since we brainstormed during lunch we only had so much table space. In the future, I think it would be better to brainstorm on a wall and use one sticky note per numbered idea, potentially including a rough sketch of the idea. Sticking the actual notes on the wall is an example of Kelley's "The Space Remembers" rule which describes how using spatial memory can help us remember past mind-sets. In our brainstorm, we didn't really have "playful rules" but I think we did brainstorm some wild ideas without necessarily judging or shunning them even if they turned out to be impractical. Some things that didn't work well for us was "Build and Jump" once we started to plateau our ideas, and then the food came we didn't have a chance to jump to a new idea. I ended up finishing the brainstorm by myself since my roommate no longer had caloric incentives to help me brainstorm. Lastly, a thing that really worked well for us is that we warmed up properly. On the way to the restaurant my roommate was excited about a business idea of his own so we got a brainstorming warmup before the actual brainstormer.

2. Some examples given in the reading of how sketching in paper over slideware is that you don't have to wait for paper to "boot up." Paper is always on and willing to accept your sketches! Also, drawing with the mouse or trackpad is near impossible. In addition, there is some sunk cost of wasted developer productivity when you have to learn how to use the advanced features of slideware. In contrast, pen and paper is very simple to use as it really only can do one thing, which is draw on the paper. Lastly, unless you are a Photoshop wizard, it's probably going to take a lot longer to jot down a sketch using slide ware as opposed to pen and paper. Personally, I feel that there is something about drawing on pen and paper that makes it a no contest vs. computer drawing software. Something about physically drawing on the paper, and being able to crumple up and angrily toss out bad sketches is a user experience that even the most modern tablet devices will have trouble emulating.

Let's say we are on the Bart traveling to San Francisco. We get inspired by seeing a problem that users are facing on the go and come up with a brilliant way to use sound as feature of a mobile app to solve the user's problem. We have our laptop in our backpack, but by the time we take it out and boot it up to start drawing up a high fidelity prototype, we risk losing our creative moment and might lose parts of our idea or drive. Instead, this is a great time to use a low fidelity technique such as scribble sketching to quickly draft out our new app idea. We can quickly grab our sketchbook and pen, and rough out our idea before it becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily commute.


Myra Haqqi - 2/2/2014 18:08:11

1. For the design assignment, I met with a group of two other students in the lounge on the fourth floor of Soda Hall to discuss possible ideas for mobile applications that would help users on the go. We discussed our insights from our individual interviews, and then helped each other come up with ideas to solve the problems that our interviewees faced. We typed up our ideas on a numbered list on a Google doc, which was shared with a few other classmates who were unable to attend the group meeting in Soda Hall. These classmates read our ideas on the Google doc, edited and added to our existing innovations, and then also added their own new ideas as well, ultimately resulting in a long list of numerous good ideas for mobile applications that would help users on the go.

Kelley’s rules and suggestions that I felt were most effective are sharpening the focus, numbering your ideas, build and jump, and the space remembers.

Sharpening the focus is valuable because it is important for the group to have a clear understanding of what exactly they are trying to brainstorm. Once my group discussed the specific pain points that users face while on the go, we were able to successfully come up with solutions to their adversities because we had a focused problem to solve. This made it much easier to brainstorm ideas, because we knew we had to come up with a solution to resolve specific issues.

Numbering your ideas was very helpful for us because we were able to stay organized. On our Google Doc, we had a numbered list of all of our brainstorming results, which helped us visually see our progress and also easily refer back to previous ideas.

Build and jump is particularly useful when the flow of ideas begins to decline. As people run out of ideas, “building” upon ideas with variations or “jumping” to come up with new, creative, and innovative ideas helps re-direct the discussion and ultimately allows for a successful brainstorming session.

Using a Google Doc enabled all of the members of my group to see the ideas that we had all come up with, utilizing Kelley’s concept of “the space remembers.”

The least effective of Kelley’s rules and suggestions are playful rules and stretch your mental muscles.

Playful rules, though necessary, are also not necessarily the best guidelines in a brainstorming session. Although the members of my group did not criticize each other’s ideas, I think it is more effective to encourage honest feedback because people will see the shortcomings of their ideas and will be able to effectively improve upon them with the proper advice of others.

My group talked a little bit about our experiences before beginning the brainstorming session, but Kelley’s suggestion to stretch the mental muscle prior to discussion was not very effective because it might be distracting and might waste time.

For my brainstorming for the design assignment, we conducted our brainstorming discussion in a manner that differed somewhat from Kelley’s rules and suggestions. We used a Google doc and each read from our own laptops, as opposed to following Kelley’s suggestion of using physical space to write out ideas.

Another way my brainstorming for the design assignment differed from Kelley’s methods is that my group did not do any “warm-up” when we began to brainstorm together. While Kelley suggested doing some activities prior to brainstorming, my group ultimately just jumped right into coming up with ideas.

My group did also not “get physical.” The only materials we had brought with us to brainstorm together was our laptops, which we used solely to update our shared Google doc. However, contrary to Kelley’s suggestion of bringing actual materials, building models, and “bodystorming” by acting out scenarios, my group did not do anything physical during our brainstorm session. Instead, we sat down at a table and discussed our ideas.



2. Some benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware, e.g. Powerpoint, are that sketching on paper is a lot faster. While sketching in slideware may have features that can help people, such as readily available images and art, it still takes a lot longer than using a pen on paper. In addition to taking longer, sketching on digital tools can waste time being spent on things that are not necessarily for the purpose of conveying an idea. For example, searching for relevant images, aligning text boxes, and other digital necessities waste time that take away from the focus of sketching an idea quickly. Also, sketching on paper allows one to perform the task of capturing the essence of an idea immediately without hesitation while the idea is still fresh in one’s mind. On the contrary, when using slideware, the user has to first turn on his device and open the application, waiting for it to load and to configure the proper settings. Also, when doing free-hand drawings on slideware, it is a lot more difficult to draw with a mouse than it is to draw with a pencil, unless one spends a lot of time and effort in practicing. Also, not everyone knows how to use slideware, and not everyone is aware of all of the useful features of slideware software, which would hinder their ability to create a good sketch.

Sketching on paper has many advantages, including the fact that it does not cost much, it is very easy and can be done virtually anywhere at any time, everyone can do it, and one does not need to spend unnecessary time waiting for a slideware application to open and load.

Also, when sketching with paper, one can easily find and refer back to any sketch simply by flipping pages. However, on slideware, one needs to search through files on his computer in order to find the relevant file.

An example of when a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when someone wants to convey just the basic layout, concept, and design of an idea. If someone just makes a quick sketch, emphasizing the significant aspects of his idea, then users will be able to more effectively focus on the important parts. When someone creates a high fidelity prototype, then users will focus on the small details rather than the overall concept. A specific example is when it is early in the design process and someone just wants to gain feedback about a general concept. In this case, it is most timely, efficient, and beneficial to create a quick sketch. Then, when they present their idea to potential users, the users can get an idea of what the designer is trying to convey, and can then give the appropriate feedback necessary for the designer to proceed with his idea. This gives the designer the opportunity to make any major changes based on the user’s feedback without a huge cost of spending a lot of time on a high fidelity prototype. For instance, if I have an idea for a mobile application that alerts people on the go of any impending dangers, such as running into an obstacle, then a sketch would be more effective than a high fidelity prototype because I can just show users my general concept, and I can get feedback quickly without have to put a lot of effort into creating a prototype that users might completely reject. Also, then users will focus on the overall concept and design, rather than getting hung up on specific details of a high fidelity prototype.


Ziran Shang - 2/2/2014 18:11:58

I feel that the most effective rules are not critiquing, build and jump, and writing down ideas. The least effective ones may be numbering ideas because it may encourage people just to go for numbers. In our brainstorm we followed most of Kelley's rules, but we didn't make physical models or act out usage patterns.

Sketching with paper is beneficial in several aspects. For one, it is faster to jot down ideas on paper than to wait for a computer to turn on. Also, it is often easier to sketch certain shapes by hand than with a mouse. A specific example where sketching is better is if you are just trying to jot down some basic ideas. A user must spend more time in slideware choosing layouts, font size, alignment, etc, which can greatly lengthen the amount of time taken to make a basic sketch.


Emily Sheng - 2/2/2014 19:17:06

1. I felt "sharpen the focus" and "number your ideas" were the most effective suggestions. Sometimes I would get stuck on a topic, but was able to generate more ideas if I asked a different but related question. Also, numbering the ideas gave me a sense of momentum, so that when I got stuck, I could see that I had almost a dozen ideas and was more motivated to ask different questions about old topics. The suggestion that I believe to be the least effective would probably be to "get physical," because sometimes it'd be best to have certain materials or be in a specific environment that we don't have access to. I brainstormed by myself, and I definitely feel my brainstorm session could have been more productive with other people. I think it's more effective to have people of different backgrounds generate ideas together.

2. A digital device will usually take some time to turn on. In addition, advanced features and tools usually take some time to learn, and sometimes sorting through files to find a previous sketch can take time. For an example of an instance where a sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype: imagine sketching the checkout layout of a shopping website. Some of the screen is devoted to a picture of your item, another part is devoted to text information about the item, another calculates the total cost, and yet another has options to proceed or discard item. By hand, we can easily divide a paper into different sections, add in simple pictures of items, buttons, and text. Keeping in mind speed while sketching in slideware can lead to an undesired contrast between super straight dividing lines and cursor-drawn pictures. In addition, spacing and font placement may look weird. By contrast, if we were to create a high fidelity prototype in slideware, this would definitely take much longer to get everything aligned, while it essentially stores the same information about the sketch as the both alternatives.


Jay Kong - 2/2/2014 19:22:20

Question 1: I felt that Kelley’s “playful rules” was the most effective rule during my brainstorming session. Whenever I came up with an idea, I had a part of my brain criticizing the idea. As a result, it was difficult for me generate ideas because they get “gutted” in my mind. I had to change my approach by setting “playful rules” to prevent myself from judging ideas prematurely. On the other hand, for this assignment, I felt that “getting physical” was the least effective rule. I did my brainstorming at home, so I didn’t have the necessary tools and space to get physical. I would, however, like to be in a room like IDEO’s to brainstorm – there seems to be absolutely no limitations created by space. The main thing I did differently was using my computer to brainstorm. As a result, my ideas were born of a text-form, rather than of an image-form. I felt limited by choosing to brainstorm on a computer because I had to take an extra step to convert my ideas to words in my mind. Next time, I will do my brainstorming on paper.

Question 2: There are many benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware. First, paper and pen are much more available than slideware. Take, for example, when you’re on the go, it’s much easier to grab a piece of scratch paper to sketch on. On the other hand, you would need a laptop with you at all times to achieve the same level of availability. Second, grabbing a pen and paper is much faster than turning on your laptop to open a slideware application. It’s likely that the idea might’ve been forgotten during the time it takes to launch the slidware application. Finally, it’s much easier to express yourself on a piece of paper than to express yourself through drawing on slideware. Everyone knows how to write and draw, but not everyone knows how to fully utilize the slideware application.

Sketches are more effective than a high fidelity prototype in an idea generation stage. It’s much more efficient to create 10-20 sketches of an idea than to create 10-20 high fidelity prototypes of an idea that's being explored.


Steven Pham - 2/2/2014 19:40:35

The most effective rule was “getting physical”. I am more of a visual person. I learn things better or am more productive when I see what it is I’m doing. So I wrote my ideas down on paper in a mind map. Ideas led to another and I could always stop at one stem and continue on another. The least effective I experienced was “sharpening the focus” because the problem in my mind was too focused. My problem was more specific to making some task easier to do in a specific location. I should’ve broadened my problem as well as use sharpies and post it notes to write down my ideas on my desk.

Some benefits of drawing over digital are that you can quickly jot down your idea, spend not much effort on some prototype, and create almost anything. The differences with digital are that you would have to wait for the device to turn on and load the prototyping program, learn the program’s functions to get what you want on the screen which takes time and effort, as well as use a mouse if you do not have a tablet. A digital takes more work to do and makes you almost commit to it since you spend so much time one it. A good example of the differences is creating six slide flow of a user interface. With paper and a pen, you can sketch out ideas in less than thirty minutes. With a digital device you have to find the shapes you want, position them, add text into places needed, and draw with a mouse. When you present this to a user they will more likely give better feedback on the paper version because it looks like there has not been much work put into it.


Andrew Dorsett - 2/2/2014 21:08:47

Kelley's suggestion of sharpening your focus was the most effective. I noticed when I was brainstorming I had trouble when my description was too narrow. When I thought of it as an application to unlock your phone when you're driving I had trouble thinking of ideas. I found Kelley's "Get Physical" suggestion not to be particularly helpful in software development though. If I were to do it differently I would have brainstormed in a group instead of by myself.

Sketching on paper allows you to capture the moment. One of the authors talked about sketching something he saw in a movie. This wouldn't have been possible with slideware. A good example when a sketch is more effective is when you're expressing something on the spot. Say you're brainstorming with a group. You can start sketching right there and everyone sees what you're drawing. A high fidelity prototype requires you to go on your computer and spend more time worrying about the details. It's less conducive to a group brainstorming session.


Daniel Haas - 2/2/2014 21:10:01

1) Kelley's rules 1 (Sharpen the Focus) and 4 (Build and Jump) were probably the most useful for me during my brainstorm. I definitely wasted time initially trying to immediately brainstorm "mobile applications on the go", but didn't get anywhere until I looked at the feedback from last week's interviews and refined my problem statement to "ways to help people use navigation tools while walking around without bumping into things because they are looking down at a phone." Similarly, after coming up with several good ideas for a specific problem statement, I felt like I was running dry, and shifting to a different problem/angle definitely made it easier to get ideas flowing again. I didn't find Kelley's suggestion to "Get Physical" (rule 7) very useful, however. Maybe it was a consequence of most of my solutions being mobile apps, or the fact that this was a very high-level brainstorm, but I didn't feel like sketching or playing around with objects helped me understand or generate ideas any quicker.

2) The main benefits of paper sketches over slideware sketching are portability and speed. As described in the section on "Scribble Sketching", sketches can be made anywhere, even in the dark, and can capture the gist of an idea very quickly. In contrast, slide sketching requires the overhead of turning on the device/loading the application, is slower to sketch in general, and since slides don't really allow for low-fidelity drawing (lines are all perfectly straight, shading is exact), everything sketched in slideware comes out looking like a full prototype, even if it was intended to capture just the vaguest details of an interface. So in any situation where you want to sketch just the outlines of an idea (for example, to record an interesting interface idea seen in a movie in your notebook for future reference), low-fidelity sketches will always be superior.


Armando Mota - 2/2/2014 22:26:04

1) The brainstorm I conducted for the design assignment was pretty poor upon reflection. Barring the fact that it was a solitary brainstorm, I didn’t allow myself to entertain any outside-the-box ideas. I remember mentally canceling ideas and refocusing myself, saying “it’s got to be helpful” or it’s got to solve a specific issue that the user brought up”. The range of ideas I was comfortable writing down or pursuing was quite small. I did “get physical”, which did spark some ideas in my head and truly seemed a valuable practice. When thinking of running apps, I ran in place a couple of times in my bedroom while observing my limbs and body position, where a phone would most likely be located on me, etc. I also used Kelley’s “build and jump” technique fairly effectively, and I would say most of my final ideas came from following up another already-thought-about idea. I didn’t start many ideas completely fresh, most were a continuation or variation on a theme. When I hit a dead end, I stopped and jumped to another area. I can’t really say which of Kelley’s techniques I found least effective because I didn’t use too many of them, however for this assignment specifically, I think numbering my ideas would have had little effect because of the small target size. Every idea I wrote down I remembered instantly upon recollection (although this, in itself, might indicate that I was very attached to each idea - a frame of mind that might not be fully conducive to group brainstorming and truly open group work, which is something i’ll be working on). A personal side-goal of mine is to become adept at knowing how to express why I think an idea is valuable without overcommitting myself and becoming stuck thinking that every idea I put forth needs to be strongly considered by the group.

2) Sketching on paper is faster, you can often capture the “general idea” with more accuracy and less work, you have more power over the textures and sketching style used, it’s portable, it can be done discreetly in public/private places, and there is less memorization/acclimatization with the features of various computer programs. A specific example in which a sketch would be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is one that the authors provide - you’re watching Avatar, and you notice the double-sided screen technology that is on display in a certain scene (it just passes by quickly and you think to yourself, how cool would that double sided display be and how effective would it be to display information). So, your main objectives are to sketch the main idea down quickly (you are in a movie theater,and the scene has already passed, leaving your short-term memory with a challenge to keep it in mind) and to reproduce only what’s important, namely the fact that the screen displays information on both sides. This sketch doesn’t have to be detailed at all, because as was just explained it really just needs to convey what the screen does and how. Accomplishing either of these objectives would be difficult with sketching slideware. It would take longer and it would also require a fair amount of cognitive fill-in to recreate the scene in which the screen was situated in the movie. Unfortunately just a screen doesn’t look like more than a rectangle or two in Powerpoint (if there isn’t a fair amount of detail put into it.)


Ryan Yu - 2/2/2014 22:43:02

1) I feel as though a primary issue I had when I was brainstorming for my design assignment was that I had no clear focus or purpose to the app ideas that I wanted to think of; in this sense, I was more or less aimlessly trying to think of ideas, which actually impacted (negatively) my ability to actually think of ideas. This relates to Kelley's rule "Sharpen the Focus", which urges people to narrow down their focus to a specific, open-ended topic/problem that needs solving. Furthermore, as I was brainstorming with a friend, I realized that not critiquing and debating ideas was a great asset in our productivity, which reinforces Kelley's "Playful Rules". In contrast, I have definitely worked on school projects that were design based in the past, and during brainstorming design sessions, critique definitely made the mood sour and lingered over the atmosphere, affecting the generation of other ideas. It is not until now that I actually put a finger on this, and realized that in fact, critique during brainstorming may not be a good thing at all -- as Kelley says, it's better to have all your ideas on the board; then, you can decide which ones are worth pursuing. Finally, I believe that Kelley's rule "The Space Remembers", is an invaluable rule to brainstorming. I myself am a visual person, so I greatly prefer to see ideas down on paper or on a board before I can fully process them. I believe this extends to larger group meetings as well, and can greatly increase productivity.

On the other hand, I don't necessarily believe that "Number Your Ideas" contributes a significant amount to brainstorming. I believe what's more important is filling up space on a board visually (i.e. The Space Remembers). Numbering is less important -- I believe that if people just see the quantity of what they have produced, that there is no great reason to actually number them. I also believe that warmups, i.e. "Stretch Your Mental Muscles", isn't necessary in many situations, especially when you have a team that is eager to begin. Jumping into the brainstorming may actually be more beneficial in this situation, as your mind is free to just think free, and you can get all of your ideas down while you're still eager and fresh to do so.

As previously mentioned, in my brainstorming session, I didn't really "sharpen the focus" -- I merely thought in a very general sense of app ideas that could be implemented and that could target users "on the go". We also did not "stretch our mental muscles", instead preferring to jump straight into the brainstorming session. Finally, I don't believe that we really fit the description of our session "building and jumping". Although I do believe that it is much desirable to have brainstorming momentum build intensely and plateau, I believe that we were pretty much even in terms of momentum through our entire session.

2) There are many, many benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware. In regards to this, I believe that the most important thing that you should be doing when you are sketching is getting your ideas down on paper as quickly as possible, and devoting all your brainpower to doing so. When you have to focus your mind (even a little bit!) on finding the right tool, or finding the right eraser, or finding the right clip art to correctly depict your idea, then you are taking away from the brainpower that you could be using to get your idea down on paper with a paper and a pen. Writing, for us, is rote muscle memory. In this sense, writing should be infinitely more effective in communicating quick ideas that you want to be able to recall in the future.

A sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype especially during the brainstorming part of the process. When you are merely throwing out ideas for an app or for a product, you want to get *as much on the board as possible.* Sketching, in this sense, is a very quick way to do this. If you generate a high fidelity prototype, on the other hand, you are including details for an idea that you don't even know will make it past the next step of the process! This means you have just wasted time and devoted unnecessary human resources to something that may be inconsequential in the future. Including a lo-fi sketch also leaves out unnecessary details for others to view the idea, and makes it easier for them to comprehend. For instance, if someone puts up a sketch that *just* communicates the main idea, a viewer will grasp this main idea and it will stay within their head. If someone puts up a sketch that is high-fidelity, and includes many details such as buttons, styling, and things like this, then it detracts from the focus and the purpose of what the product/application is trying to do in the first place.


Qianyun Li - 2/2/2014 22:46:17

1. From my experience, "sharpen the focus" and "number you idea" were very effective. "Sharpen the focus" lets me focus on what is important while not limiting my idea in one single direction. "Number your idea" really pushes me when I am brainstorming and I actually came up with something new when I need to think at least 12 ideas. I didn't get a chance to practice all of Kelley's principles but I think principle #5 sounds not important to me, although having more physical space could be helpful. When I was brainstorming, I would sketch on the paper, sometimes drawing a mindmap could be useful. I also write down possible ideas that I don't have a chance to think deeply, so I can come back to that idea later.

2.The benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware includes more flexibility, faster produce a primitive prototype, more creative in the way that there are no pre-defined shapes and box, easier to decide interface elements such as text font, color, alignment, etc. When we try to make the very first prototype of a mobile application, I think a sketch could be more effective. When I want to just brainstorm what kind of features we need on the application but not go into very details of design decisions, then sketching is more efficient and effective.


Michelle Nguyen - 2/2/2014 22:49:34

1. Kelley's first rule, "Sharpen the Focus" was definitely the most effective rule--you need to be able to have a good idea of what you are trying to brainstorm without it being too restricting or too broad. A different focus can completely change the ideas that people think of while brainstorming. Kelley also suggests to refrain from critiquing any ideas, which I believe is also very important. This encourages out-of-the box ideas, which might just be the big idea that will be used, or at least give a push in the right direction. I also liked Kelley's suggestion of not forcing everyone to take turns in a brainstorm. Sometimes, people don't have the right idea just yet and need to think and hear from others before they can formulate their thoughts. Forcing them to speak before they are ready may pressure them. Meanwhile, others who have many ideas shouldn't be held back from speaking, since those may be valuable ideas.

I believe one of Kelley's least effective suggestions was to number the ideas. I feel like this forces people to think of quantity over quality. By setting goals, such as requiring 100 ideas in an hour of brainstorming, people might just offer ideas that haven't been well thought out just for the sake of making sure they have 100 ideas. People should just try to think up the most quality ideas they can, without putting a number requirement on it. Although somewhat effective, but less effective, Kelley suggests to find the right "build and jump" moments. People think at different rates, and someone might still be thinking about a topic when a facilitator decides the moment is perfect to "build" or "jump" to another topic.

For my brainstorm, I feel like I did not sharpen the focus enough. I had a very general idea of wanting to create an app for the people I had interviewed. Unfortunately for me, the three interviewees I chose to interview were all very different and had different problems (biking, driving, and running). Because of this, I did not focus on a single group. I also did not try to use much space or get physical while brainstorming. I had a pen and notebook, which I scribbled down any ideas that I thought might be worthy. However, my space was restricted to the single page and its lines. The biggest difference was that I brainstormed alone, which definitely made it much more difficult to keep the energy going.

2. One benefit of sketching on paper is that you can do it anywhere. It is easy to bring around a small notebook and pull it out whenever you have ideas or have something you want to record. You can even pull it out and sketch in the dark, such as the author of the reading. Meanwhile, slideware requires you to have an electronic device on hand, which is not as convenient to carry around and pull out whenever you want. This prevents you from doing things "on the fly", which might cause problems since ideas can come and go quickly. Since we are more comfortable with pen and paper than using a computer, it is also faster to make the sketch on paper. For instance, it is easier to draw a quick arrow on paper than having to find the right arrow shape in slideware, after which you would have to place and drag it to the right size and shape. Another benefit of sketching on paper is that it allows you to just capture the essence of what you want and focus just on those details. Meanwhile, slideware may force you to think of other details that aren't yet important, detracting from the real purpose of the sketch. Sometimes this may force you to have what looks more like a high fidelity prototype over a simple sketch, which may restrict you to those details you were forced to decide. The simple sketch allows you to be more flexible later on those other details that you aren't ready to concentrate on yet. For instance, as a specific example, say you are trying to create a new home screen for your new phone (in competition with the iPhone and Android phones). Suppose you like the fact that the iPhone's home page looks clean, since all the apps are squares and neatly lined up in their rows. With a quick sketch, you can just draw the squares lined up as you want. However, with a prototype, you'd also need to think of other aspects, such as how you want to display your top bar with the time and phone status (or consider if you even want to include that) and the correct widths and measurements. If you have another idea that comes along that you like (maybe you like Window's start bar and want to include something like that in your phone), you now have to figure out how to fit it into your prototype, or go through the work of removing all the work you have done if you decide to change details that you were forced to decide earlier. It is more effective to be able to combine the two ideas that you like without having to deal with the details that were not your main focus. This will allow you to have a general idea of the things you want, and how that will be laid out. You can then fill in those extra details after, which will save you time from having to redo things and spend time on unnecessary details.


Andrew Chen - 2/2/2014 23:13:56

1. The rules that I feel are most effective are rule 1, 2, and 3. Rule number 1 is effective, because it describes how to approach a problem with a question that is not too narrow and that doesn’t limit the possibilities and ideas the brainstormers can come up with. Rule number 2 is effective, because it suggests that a brainstorming session needs to be fun and energetic, so that the participants can think of as many ideas as they want, without worrying about how “outrageous” the idea is. For my design assignment, I did not follow the first two rules I listed, and it made my task a lot harder, for I ran out of practical ideas very quickly. Rule 3 is also effective, because after the brainstorming session is over, or even during the session, if someone needs to refer to a previously devised idea, using a numbering system to keep track of ideas is easier than remembering by names or details. This helped me with my brainstorming, even though I only came up with 12. I think the least effective rule is 4, build and jump, because I didn’t really need to implement this rule, as my brainstorming session was not long enough for me to lose energy on a specific line of thinking.

2. One benefit of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware is that taking out a small sketchbook and opening it up to sketch something is much more convenient than having to take out a notebook laptop to draw in slideware. Portability is extremely important, because the sketches can easily be done on the go. Another advantage of sketching on paper is that, for most people, it is more natural to draw something on paper than on the computer, because we learn to use a pencil earlier than we learn how to draw something on the computer. This is not as much about quality as it is about efficiency; we can sketch objects much faster on paper, because we are adept at using the pencil. A sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype during the earlier stages of product development, when many details of the product have not been fleshed out yet, and you want to come up with as many design ideas as possible. Sketching simpler mock-ups means that you can sketch more.


Andrea Campos - 2/2/2014 23:25:08

1. Numbering ideas was effective in that it did create a sense of accomplishment, and was a natural record of the many ideas to consider and refine later on. Keeping things playful also helps to keep stress at bay and make things more fun and humorous--I think it's a lot harder to come up with ideas if the act becomes too serious and pressured, and when you don't feel like you can throw out wacky ideas. I think his suggestion to not conduct brainstorming "off-site" isn't always effective. I seemed to be most inspired when I was outside and in a non-office/study-like room, and in a place where I could observe people using their phones. In terms of what I did differently, I didn't brainstorm all at once in one sitting, and I didn't do the cover-the-walls in ideas approach. My brainstorming took place over a few sittings, at times writing down ideas as they came to me or when inspiration struck. This approach may be okay when you have the benefit of more time and are largely going at a project alone, but I like the time efficiency of Kelley's suggestions of rapid idea generation within a short amount of time, and using the brain power of many.

2. I think sketching on paper can be better than sketching in slideware because it's generally a lot faster. Once you have an idea you can more easily sketch out a quick overview of it with pen and paper than having to do it through the medium of a computer and software. A sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype if they both capture the basic idea of a thing, but the high fidelity prototype takes twice as long to create, and may be too detailed and harder to improve/make changes to. Plus, it's a lot easier to be collaborative when sketching on paper--more people can physically contribute by adding to the sketches. Finally, it's much simpler and cheaper to acquire paper and writing utensils than a bunch of computers and necessary sketching software.


Lauren Speers - 2/3/2014 0:07:13

Kelley’s rule about clearly setting “Playful Rules” allowed my group’s brainstorm to go in surprising directions that actually ended in decent ideas. However, without also following the “Build and Jump” rule (exploring an idea and then making a significant transition when we got stuck), our brainstorm would have very quickly gotten off track, ending with us redesigning ski or bike equipment instead of apps. Our group brainstormed in an unfamiliar, but available, space on campus, and our brainstorm did not seem hindered by our lack of familiarity with the room. In this respect, Kelley’s suggestion to stay away from “off-site” (unfamiliar) locations for brainstorming sessions was not effective. Finally, we did not have a numbering system for our ideas, but we each took notes using similar vocabulary, allowing us to recall ideas even without a numbering system.

According to Greenberg, Carpendale, Marquardt, and Buxton, sketching on slideware instead of paper requires more prep time to learn the advanced tools, more start-up time to wait for devices to turn on, more file management time, and more equipment (a stylus, tablet, etc.). I would add two concerns to this list. First, Kelley emphasizes the importance of “Getting Physical” while brainstorming, but sketching on slideware removes the physical elements of pinning up sketches and viewing them around the room that come with sketching on paper. Furthermore, sketching with slideware could remove the sense of equality between members of a brainstorm. Even in today’s society, there are still people in the workplace who find it difficult to learn and use new software. These people will feel less qualified in a brainstorm where sketching is done with slideware than they would in a brainstorm where sketching is done with pen and paper.

A simple sketch would be more useful than a high fidelity prototype if a designer want to explain or get feedback on a specific element of his design, like the overall layout or the functions in the toolbar. This emphasis can be easily communicated with a sketch (as demonstrated in section 2.1), but could be lost in the detail and completeness of a high fidelity prototype.


Rico Ardisyah - 2/3/2014 0:36:58

The rules, which Kelley presented in the book, are indeed very useful. It gives me, as the reader, a new perspective of brainstorming. The seven ‘secret’ rules that he suggested are my new tools to get a more effective brainstorming. Personally, for the brainstorm that I conducted for design assignment, the secret Sharpen the Focus is the most effective rule. In fact, when people are brainstorming, they tend to discuss things that are out of the topic, and it is inevitable. This rule keeps the brainstorming process on the right path. In addition, Playful Rules are also another factor that will make an effective brainstorming. Since debate is not only sapping our energy, it is also wasting our time; Playful Rules gives us a better solution. Instead of debating which may lead to pointless goal, following Playful Rules let the team produce more creative idea. However, in my opinion, Build and Jump rule is the least effective rule since this rule forces the team to keep brainstorm by building and jumping to a new problem. In some condition, when the team is in the plateau stage, they may not have an effective brainstorm when they are forced to build or jump to another problem. The only rule I did differently is “Get Physical” rule. In our design assignment, we are asked to brainstorm ideas for apps that does not have physical shape. Hence, I do not really use physical stuff; instead, I only try to draw it on paper.

There are a lot of sketching techniques that are described by Greenberg, Carpendale, Marquardt and Buxton. Each of them has their positive and negative aspects. Specifically, sketching on paper as a sketching technique has some benefits over using slideware. In fact, sketching on paper gives the designer more freedom in designing the apps. The designer can easily depict his creative idea on the paper; while, when they are using slideware there are some limitations from the slideware software. Second, sketching on paper is faster than using slideware. As the matter of fact, using slideware relies on devices; moreover, when the designer is not familiar with the software. Thus, creating a decent design using slideware will take longer time than sketching on paper. For instance, when the apps has a lot different feature with complicated button and dynamic design, sketching this kind of apps using slideware will be painful since the complicated button may not be available in the slideware properties. In contrary, sketching on paper has a total freedom that makes designing complicated buttons is painless.


Eric Hong - 2/3/2014 2:02:17

Of Kelley's seven secrets for better brainstorming, I felt that using "playful rules", or not critiquing or debating ideas, had the biggest impact in my own brainstorm. In the beginning, my friends and I came up with a lot of fun and wild ideas that might not all be viable, but were great starting points. However, somewhere in the middle of the brainstorming we started critiquing the novelty or validity of the ideas. Questions like "Wasn't this already done before?" or "Is it possible implement that?" came up, and the number of new ideas started to dwindle. From that experience, I felt that Kelley really hit the point when he noted that you have to "Go for quantity," "Encourage wild ideas," and "Be visual" in a brainstorm session.

I felt that "sharpen the focus" is the least effective of Kelley's suggestions. In my own brainstorm, we focused our efforts on android applications on-the-go, which I felt limited our solutions to applications on the android screen. In hindsight, I felt that we lost out on a lot of innovative ideas by focusing on the android phone. We should of just focused on stuff you can do on-the-go, since even if the ideas we came up with cannot be done with just the phone, we could invent potential hardware plug-ins to make the ideas possible.

Different from Kelley's brainstormers, we did not make use of spacial memory and have visual items attached around the room. This suggestion could potentially make a difference, and I will try it in my next brainstorming to see how it performs.

The benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware such as Powerpoint include accessibility, ease of use, and memory. In the case of accessibility, you only need a pencil and paper or a notebook to sketch on paper. You do not need to open a laptop or an ipad, which can run out of batteries or not be usable where you are (movie theater). For many people, it is also easier to draw using a pencil than draw using the mouse. Lastly, I feel that you remember ideas better if you physically draw or write it on paper, rather than copy and paste images on Powerpoint.

Drawing the rough sketch of my android application idea is a specific example of when a sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype. Since even I do not know how the final product will turn out when I started, the rough nature of the sketches keep the options open to add new ideas or capabilities. It is also faster to create than a high fidelity prototype, which allows me to explore various different designs before I settle on one that works best.


Conan Cai - 2/3/2014 2:47:33

During my brainstorming session I found Kelley's ideas of "Get Physical" and "Build and Jump" to be most effective. At this early stage of a project, I find brainstorming to be all about visualizing what a final project could look like. To help that vision take form, sketches and drawings are used. Sketching things out helps bridge the gap between an abstract idea in your head to and concrete physical manifestation. Creating a sketch or model gives you something physical to manipulate. For me, its much easier to hold something in my hands and rotate it or move it around than trying to think of it in my head and doing the same.

Sketching on paper is low cost, quick and can be done literally anywhere. Sketching on paper gives complete control on what the prototype looks like. Using a computer, you are constrained to the tools that the program gives you. It can lead to frustration and more time used that if a paper sketch is used. After all, all a sketch needs to do is convey an idea and remind the drawer and refresh his memory. Sketching on paper would be particularly useful for brainstorming. Many ideas will be created and so creating a high fidelity prototype for each one would be highly time consuming. A paper sketch is quick and dirty while still providing visual feedback on a proposed idea.


Jimmy Bao - 2/3/2014 4:55:50

1) I particularly felt Kelley's rule of not shooting down an idea was important. As the reading mentions, such a thing "can sap the energy of the session pretty quickly." It may make the contributor of that idea feel less-inclined to offer more ideas due to the fear of being shot down again. Brainstorming is one of the few things that I believe benefits more with quantity over quality. Any ideas should be pitched. You don't want to rule out any idea that's "too crazy". Kelley also suggests to have "a way to turn aside critiques without turning off the critiquers completely. I think it's important that if you do shoot down a suggestion, that you focus primarily on bringing down just the idea and why it's flawed, not the person.

I think out of Kelley's "Seven Secrets for Better Brainstorming," numbering ideas is the least effective. Numbering ideas can serve an important purpose when trying to see how many ideas you came up with or to quickly identify an idea by its number, but I feel that it's something that isn't completely necessary like some of the other suggestions.

I felt that several of my ideas are probably too product-focused or narrow, which according to Kelley is bad. I also used bullets as opposed to actual numbers when I was brainstorming so I didn't really know how many I had unless I counted. Other than that, I think I followed all the other secrets that Kelley mentioned.

2) Some of the benefits of sketching on paper over sketching using digital tools include being able to do it on the fly, you don't have to turn it on or keep it charged, it's a lot cheaper, you don't have to learn all the features and tools, etc.

As the reading mentions, I think if you're in a situation where you're only allotted a short amount of time, you should sketch on paper instead. But to go beyond that, I think that digital tools should only be used to polish up a sketch to make it nice and presentable, not to make rough sketches.


Shaina Krevat - 2/3/2014 9:29:30

1. “The boss gets to speak first” as a “don’t” rule is one that I found effective while brainstorming. I considered myself the “boss” in this case because it was my assignment that I was discussing with my friends. I tried very hard to give them the idea of the assignment without giving them any of my opinions, so they wouldn’t constrained. I didn’t tell them ideas I had already come up with, and when their ideas duplicated mine, I knew they were worth considering further. If I had done all of the talking, or only asked their opinions on ideas I had already had, I wouldn’t have heard any of their additional good ideas. Also, hearing new ideas inspired even more thoughts of my own and lead the group to even more insights. On that note, “build and jump” was a technique I used. The project revolved around mobile apps, but there was no limitation on which app we chose, so we would discuss the maps app, for example, until we ran out of ideas and then discussed the music app, and so on and so forth. I think the only idea that I didn’t use to some extent was “get physical,” and that was mostly because we were dealing with mobile apps, so besides the physical phone, there wasn’t much we had to use, unlike what was suggested in the article.

2. Sketching on paper is easy, quick, and can be done almost anywhere with a variety of tools (paper, napkins, pens, pencils, crayons). Sketching in slideware is much more difficult, and usually requires paying for software and devices to use, especially since drawing with a mouse is challenging without some sort of tablet attachment. While sketching in slideware might be more useful when displaying your ideas to someone (i.e. emailing the file as opposed to scanning it or moving the file directly into a presentation you’re about to give), according to the article it will take more time, as one needs to think about font sizes, clipart and other parts of the sketching one can do easily in a hand drawn sketch. As pointed out in the article, it is possible for inspiration to strike in situations like a dark movie theater, or somewhere else where there isn’t access to technology. However, I think the best example of when a sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when an entire group wants to work on it. A paper sketch allows many people to shift the paper around, draw and erase different things, draw attention to one point, etc, while a high fidelity prototype would not.


Erik Bartlett - 2/3/2014 10:11:51

1) I tried to use the Build and Jump rule, along with the numbering of ideas to aid me. I felt Build and Jump was a great way to get out of a rut and completely re-energize my brainstorm. Numbering the ideas did not seem to help me a ton. I was working by myself, so that could possibly have been the reason for it - but because going would stagnate every once in a while, having that number constantly reminding me that it wasn't changing didn't help out. I would definitely plan on working with a group next time - and I think doing the "warm-ups" to strech my mental muscles could also be a good idea. I would also try to change my setting, from a coffee shop to a place a little less distracted.

2) I think a huge benefit of sketching on paper over software is the availability of the medium - no matter where you are you can pull out a sketch book and scribble something down. It is also easier to do quickly, without having to look at your paper. Maybe you'd eventually get fast with slideware/PowerPoint, but switching between tools will always take time. In the beginning of the design phase, a sketch is much more effective than a high fidelity prototype. It allows the group to decide on a basic design, while not forcing them to commit too early to any design decisions like font, type, spatial placement, etc. This allows for more iteration on the design and makes it more likely that someone will expand on the basic idea with something slightly different, and changing the design won't be too difficult because they haven't already committed to a prototype.


Allison Leong - 2/3/2014 10:23:49

1. In the brainstorm that I conducted for the design assignment, I felt number 2, “Playful Rules”, and 4 , “Build and Jump” to be the most effective. By thinking up some outrageous ideas, I was able to be more creative. I could pull the useful bits out of a crazy idea and into other more feasible ideas. Prior to doing the reading, I was unaware of the utility of using space and sketching, so I wrote down all of my ideas with words. I numbered my ideas, but I did not feel that this was very effective since I rarely needed to refer back to an old idea. As mentioned before, things that I did differently included not sketching my ideas out and not getting “into the zone” by reviewing other mobile apps prior to beginning the brainstorm.


2. One benefit to sketching on paper is that sketching on paper can be done very rapidly and in almost any situation. The author of the text cites as an example an instance where he was inspired in the movie theater while watching Avatar, and pulled out his notebook to make a sketch. Sketching on paper allows for a larger quantity of ideas to be recorded in a smaller amount of time. Sketching in slideware can inhibit the capturing of ideas on the fly, and reviewing sketches becomes a cumbersome process of opening and closing computer files. In the early stages of brainstorming, sketches can be more effective than high fidelity prototypes in capturing the basic ideas for a design. To give a specific example, in the design assignment we completed this week, it would not have made sense to create a high fidelity prototype of every idea because the amount of time it takes to make each prototype would have severely limited the number of ideas that could be processed in the brainstorming session.


Chirag Mahapatra - 2/3/2014 10:44:35

1. The effective suggestions were: - Sharpen the focus: Having a well articulated problem can be really helpful in making the brainstorm productive. When I brainstormed, initially the problem statement was too broad and then proceeded to make it too narrow. This limited my thoughts and wasn't able to get the best thoughts out of me.

- Playful rules: Once, I was brainstorming on IT ideas for rural India. When we first had the brainstorm without rules, it quickly escalated to a personal clashes, debates and resulted in poor quality of ideas. When we repeated the exercise sometime later (with a different group) while ensuring that there would be no critiquing, the quantity and quality of ideas were much better.

- Stretch your mental muscles: In my opinion, this is the best suggestion. My productivity in a brainstorm is much better after a game or quiz or a small group activity rather than without it. This really preps my mind for the activity.

The least effective - Enforcing a number: For the design assignment, having a requirement of 12 ideas inhibited my creativity. Example, I took 40 min for the first 10 ideas and almost 30 min for the next two ideas. And in fact, I consider the last two ideas the poorest ones.

What I did differently: I worked individually first and then discussed my ideas with a classmate. Ideally, I should have reversed the process, because I was extremely biased towards my ideas. Reversing would have helped me be more open.

2. Benefits of sketching over slideware: - Sketching is faster. Hence, one can save much more time while iterating. - It is easier to collaborate while sketching. This is especially when the group is at the same place. If they are using slideware then they will be glued to their screen and not exchanging ideas that freely. Hence, defeating the entire process.

Sketching is more effective when quantity is more important than quality. It is much faster to get 10-15 sketches in under 10 min. It also gets people into doing things rather than being passive on their screen.


Doug Cook - 2/3/2014 11:07:00

Recalling the brainstorm I did for the assignment, I think Kelley’s suggestions to sharpen the focus and “build and jump” were the most useful. These were effective for me because a central part of my brainstorming process is to throw many unrelated ideas and staying focused on the original question or goal gets cloudy with time. This makes it useful to revisit it every few ideas. Kelley’s “build and jump” strategy happens to be one of my favorites because putting an idea into words almost always gives way to variations and one of those variations is likely to be more relevant than the original. Being a very visual person, I don’t think numbering my ideas really had an impact because I can easily differentiate ideas based on my notions, sketches, and wording. The only aspect I do differently than Kelley is that I add more stimulating exercises prior to the session’s start. Kelley mentioned warm-up exercises with the group but I think there’s even more one can do individually to enhance their contributions (anything to engage them more with the subject).

Sketching on paper provides more potential and malleability than high fidelity prototyping. Some specific benefits include the facility to quickly manipulate your prototype without need to understand high-technology software or address latency introduced by digital tools. Drawings on paper are also evince a different attitude from viewers: the imperfect lines and imperfect shading make it obvious that you’re presenting a prototype and allow the viewers’ imaginations to “fill in the blanks”, whereas digital prototypes with their perfect lines and images may just appear as unfinished projects (this can vary greatly based on what it is you’re making). A sketch could be far more effective than a high fidelity prototype in a post-brainstorm design session where the group decides which idea to run with. Because a sketch can be produced and modified with such ease, the person who elects to represent their favorite idea with a high-fidelity prototype is disadvantaged at this phase in the design process.


Ravi Punj - 2/3/2014 11:20:22

1) A lot of Kelley's rules seemed very relevant to my brainstorm, even though the brainstorm was done mostly individually. Among the seven rules I most liked Rule# 5: The space remembers. Visually laying out ideas was very helpful in understanding my own thought process and that of the group, finding repeating patterns (eg. hands-free often goes along with voice commands), but also finding good anti-patterns that helped us come up with ideas that were against the grain (eg. an app that you use while on a run, which plays your least favorite songs when you're walking or jogging, but starts playing your favorite songs when you start running faster, or sprinting. The anti-pattern here was that hands-free didn't need to go along with voice-commands). Rule #4 goes along very well with the previously mentioned rule. With a visual space the building and jumping is as literally as it is figurative. We can sequentially line out all of our "builds" and then go back and create branches for "jumps" or start a new thread completely. We also had lots of round robin discussions which ensured that everyone's voice was heard equally, but people also had time to think before they spoke. We felt it kept the discussion appropriately focussed and helped us follow Rule #1.

2) Sketching on paper, especially in early design iterations is very useful. Sketching captures the important ideas or desires of an interface while abstracting away the superfluous details, such as text sizes, alignments, etc. The designer, thus, has to spend less time on capturing an idea and the abstraction means the designer can focus on the more important details of a sketch, such as grouping of controls, spatial mappings and configurations, etc. For example, if the designer is designing an interface for a language learning software for kids, the focus should be on making the interface as intuitive as possible. Here, sketching will be a more effective method of capturing the interface as it takes less time (so the designer can build more alternative ideas), and the designer doesn't have to bother about details such as fonts, text sizes, alignments, etc. The same interface if created in slideware will take more time and a lot of the designer mental energy will be spent in picking out fonts, and colors, and working within the limitations of the slideware.


Dalton Stout - 2/3/2014 11:29:23

Of all the brainstormer rules presented, I found the 'Playful Rules' to be the most effective during my brainstorm. The reason I say this is because the best idea of my design assignment brainstorm (that I eventually chose to prototype) came when brainstorming with a friend who doesn't go to Berkeley. I laughed at his idea at first because it seemed so off the wall and strange, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it a realized how effective it was for solving our problem. The least effective I would say is the 'Stretch Your Mental Muscles' rule. Perhaps it was because my friend and I already know each other quite well, but we didn't feel the need to warm up or do ice breakers.

Sketching on paper provide a lot more creative freedom in terms of the shapes and sketches it can represent. Slideware provides some basic functionality with boxes and lines and arrows, but nowhere near the possibilities of sketching on paper. Also slideware takes quite a deal longer to make the prototype look 'good' because you have to worry about smaller details like font, margins, and perhaps downloaded images. If you were in a company that was on a time schedule for a certain product, you would benefit by sketching on paper to cut down time.


Vinit Nayak - 2/3/2014 11:35:03

A very helpful suggestion was to "get physical". This helped us get a more concrete grasp on the idea we were trying to show and also helped us jump from idea to idea while brainstorming. The physical aspect helped one group member convey their idea to the other members better and more thoroughly. This then helped the other members take that idea and move on to something in a similar domain. Now looking back at the brainstorming session I realize that this consequently led to the "build and jump" stage that Kelley talks about. After we drew one idea that we thought was good, the entire group took to this and went off and kept adding features and improving the original design. One suggestion that I didn't feel was too helpful (or maybe it just was not applicable for this assignment) was to sharpen the focus. I think keeping the question "fuzzy", as Kelley says it, is more beneficial to the brainstorm than otherwise. Allowing the open ended-ness allows for more jumps and creativity.

I think the largest and most significant advantage of paper sketching is the amount of time saved on failure. The largest failures will (and probably should) happen in the beginning of the design process. Prototyping takes longer on an device if what you are doing is something that isn't very detailed and quick. The time investment needed to put into learning prototyping software is a lot longer than conveying the same ideas via sketches. Sketching is also meant to not be perfect, this means that if you make a small mistake and want to change something, it's much easier to scribble and redo than go in the software and change the entire prototype (also considering that in software one small change to a project can cause a waterfall effect, in which you have to touch all the other elements to get them to be where you want them to be). An excellent example is when you have an idea based on a visual you are observing that will not last very long. For example, if you are sitting in a park and suddenly see a better design for buses because it is taking people too long to enter/exit them. It is much easier to pull out a sketch pad (considering you probably will not have a computer accessible at that moment) and draw something rather than try to remember the design you had and recreate your thoughts on a computer at a later time. Also trying to prototype a bus interface on software seems like it could be much more complicated than simply doing it on paper.


Derrick Mar - 2/3/2014 11:38:57

1. Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for the design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you feel were the most effective?

I definitely feel that Kelley's suggestion of sharpening one's focus was the most effective in generating ideas. I was not trying to come up with a “mobile app,” but rather I was trying to think of “applications that helped walkers/running text and listen to music more safely on their mobile phone.” This was the perfect topic that I believe led to creative, but concrete ideas.

Which were the least effective?

In terms of the least effective, I actually thought numbering my ideas had a negative impact on my brainstorming session. Coming up with 12 ideas for the design assignment was constantly on my mind which limited my creativity. In other words, it became more of an assignment then a free and open

What did you do differently?

Since I was brainstorming primarily alone, I was basically sitting at my desk the whole time and not using any physical objects other than a piece of paper to sketch on. However, I wish I went to the design lab in Wurster and got some friends and classmate to brainstorm with. I believe it would have been much more fun and creative.

2. Greenberg, Carpendale, Marquardt and Buxton describe various sketching techniques. What are some benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware, e.g., Powerpoint?

The most important benefit of sketching on paper over slideware is the increase in speed. As the authors state, it is much quicker to get down the general idea you want on paper and pencil vs. worrying about “text size, alignment, the look of buttons, etc...” on slideware. Additionally, it takes much longer to get set up with slideware (e.g, turning on the device and launching the program) which removes the ability to get down sketches at moment's notice.

Give a specific example of when a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype.

Venturing out of the realm of software, I believe sketching some kind of wearable technology can be more effective in the beginning iterations of the design cycle. For example, sketching the design of an electronic glove and getting feedback is much more practical then developing an expensive prototype of the glove.


Jeffrey DeFond - 2/3/2014 11:43:53

1.) The warm up step before brainstorming appears to me at least, to me one of the most important steps. A good icebreaker or opening mind teaser has in my experience always helped a group function more cohesively. What surprised me the most was the advice against writing everything down, that is a habit I will have to evaluate more, Kelley's analogy of trying to dance while typing made it seem like a really bad idea.

2.) Sketching on paper allows one to get it done quickly, anywhere, and never worry about battery life. It also allows design to stay rougher early on in the design cycle, not tacking down any elements too rigidly before their time. Say for instance you have a flash of a great idea for a software interface, like for instance a new menu for displaying emails, there is one key layout feature at the heart of your idea, it is far easier to capture that one element on paper, quickly, then to spend more time going into more detail on screen for something that you may no even decide to go with.


Andrew Lee - 2/3/2014 12:51:27

1. For me, the idea that silly ideas should not be discounted was great for the "build and jump" aspect. It was my brother who suggested an app that helps you memorize the digits of pi, flailing his arms in a "don't listen to me this is a stupid idea" manner. I wrote that down, and started bouncing to him ideas of how the user experience should go. This soon led to the idea of doing trivia questions, which I don't think I would have come up with without the pi suggestion. Some of the pitfalls that Kelley advised to avoid were inapplicable to me, since the most people that were involved were my brother and me.

2. Sketching on paper is generally faster and the barrier to express your idea in visual form is lower, since the tools are easier to use. There's also more opportunity for collaborative sketching.

Sketches can definitely be more useful than high-fidelity prototypes because the very medium implies that the main idea and user experience is still malleable. Instinctively, sketches convey an "early" feeling, which is where the ideas aren't that settled yet. On the other hand, a high-fidelity prototype usually means the product is well under way and it would be prohibitively costly to change course significantly at that point, so people would feel obligated to restrict their critique to pixel pushing.


Kaleong Kong - 2/3/2014 13:00:52

Most of Kelley’s rules and suggestions help me effectively doing my design assignment, especially those ideas of the topic “sharpen the focus”, “build and jump” and “space remembers”. I realized I had applied those ideas unconsciously when I was doing that assignment. These ideas help me to brainstorm my ideas in a correct but not too narrow direction. I did the design assignment in a group. I realized it’s particularly helpful if someone can suggest a new approach or ask a related question when everyone were thinking too much on a narrow specific direction and leading to a dead end. Having a person suggested a leading question helps people getting out of the dead end. Moreover, it’s really helpful if we mark every idea down on a paper so everyone can keep track on what is going on.

One less effective idea is that Kelley said “no silly stuff” would kill a brainstorming. It’s necessary to let ideas flow but ideas can’t be too silly that everyone in a team agree that it’s not possible. Alternately, I would still let everyone speak out their idea but we only put down ideas that most people in the team agree with.

Sketching on paper is more convenient. Sometime when you have an idea you want to put it down immediately, but the time that you take to start a computer and software may let your idea flies away. Moreover, almost everyone is an expert in using pen and papers. We can sketch most of our ideas on paper without any difficulties. However, if we use slideware, we might have to learn everything from the basic and it might take a long time until we can draw smoothly on the slideware.

For a specific example of when a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype, my example is when we draw a prototype of a browser. When we want to effectively draw a prototype, we are more concern about representing all the functional features (such the text box of links, back and forwards button, main view, etc) on the prototype instead of worrying about the spacing and position of each widget on the prototype. Without concerning much about drawing the widgets concisely on a specific position, we can draw the prototype much faster. And since also functional features are in place, people can understand the idea that we try to represent.


Charles Park - 2/3/2014 13:03:27

I think the the 2nd rule was most effective during my brainstorm. I realized I would often reject an idea even before exploring it just because it seemed stupid, or irrelevant. I frequently criticized ideas even before they made it into the list and tried to see a finalized product even before I finished the brainstorm. I guess going for quantity and accepting wilder ideas yielded the most effective arsenal of ideas that eventually became the focus of my design assignment. For this particular assignment, I think the 5th rule, the space remembers, was least effective because I was not brainstorming one product or idea and expanding on it. Instead, I was trying to take a broad topic of “mobile phones in motion” and trying to find as many different ideas that has to relate with the topic. Therefore, trying to make a huge web of ideas was not efficient and although not the best method, I just listed different ideas during my brainstorm.

Ideas and innovations can come from anywhere and at anytime. This can be at a place as mundane as the patent office or while at a coffee shop. Sometimes you don’t have time to make a high fidelity prototype; a napkin and pen is what’s going to make the design come to life. Furthermore, paper allows for multiple people to work together while softwares and slide-ware allow only for a single person to interact with the sketch. Sketches can become much more effective than a high fidelity prototype when it’s still in the early development stages where the product is prone to frequent changes. It takes exponentially less time to cross something out or even create a new sketch compared to editing and recreating a high fidelity prototype. This includes layout in which one can simply erase and draw in a better positioning or different layouts, a prototype must be modified through different programs. Finally, sketches can easily be done by anyone even if they lack technical skills to create a realistic, functioning prototype.


Alexander Chen - 2/3/2014 13:15:29

When I asked for my friend to help me brainstorm, he seemed a little reserved at first. When we used to discuss ideas, I would critique the ideas right as they were spoken. This time, I made it clear that I would hold all comments until the end, and simply write down whatever we came up with. This had a surprisingly positive result. Although some of the ideas were purely comical and would never see fruition, the energy in the room was very positive and strong because of all the fun we were having. Because I needed 12 ideas, I also started numbering them after we had a couple, just to keep track of our progress. I did use the jump technique to direct our focus of energy to another topic. After we spoke about how to make it possible to let users walk and still interact with their phone, I asked if there was a way to help them respond later. We came up with some interesting reminder applications for this purpose. However, I think we should have spent more time researching current solutions on the mobile application stores. We could have developed a deeper understanding of the offerings available and might have been able to improve on those ideas.

Sketching on paper is a reminder to ourselves that we don't care about the fine details of the application just yet. We know that hand sketching will not yield perfectly straight lines, rectangular boxes, the most beautiful font, or immersive graphics. We accept these facts, and concentrate, instead, on the functional aspects of the application. For example, "Does the interface work well if we place the confirm button on the top of the screen?", or "Should the detail view be on the right or the left side of the master view?" We don't take time to worry about the alignment of the text, images, and button. We don't have to consider the color schemes and relative sizes of the views. By sketching we can defer those decisions until later in the design process. Sometimes, high fidelity sketches just aren't feasible in some time-sensitive contexts. For example, if an employee comes up with a new idea during a business meeting, he will not have the liberty of sketching out his idea with all the details. It would take too long and would probably create a poor impression for himself among his coworkers. In this situation, the employee should sketch a lo-fi of his idea along with some notes, so that he can visit the idea when he gets a chance.


Seyedshahin Ashrafzadeh - 2/3/2014 13:26:36

For the design assignment, My friend and I brainstormed together. For this assignment, we did not have a focused problem statement. However, I found out that numbering the ideas and the build/jump approach were very useful to come up with great ideas. I noticed that I built ideas upon some of my friends ideas and vice versa. But I found it very hard to not judge our own as well as other people's ideas. I found myself restraining the ideas that seemed crazy and wild. Instead, I thought I was just looking for a great idea. I saw that for this assignment, we did not use "The Space Remembers", "Stretch Your Mental Muscle", and "Get Physical". We wrote our ideas down and gave them numbers but we did not sketch our ideas and put them on the walls. Also, we did not have any mental exercise before our brainstorm. So I thought they were the least effective for us.

Paper and pen are good sketching tools because they are cheap, portable, and always with us. Also, we have many experiences with pen, pencil, and paper from childhood. So they are very familiar and we are very comfortable with them. However, sketching in slideware has its own advantages. You can easily modify sketches you made using digital tools. You can copy, print, make templates, create animations, and if your drawing is bad, digital tools will enable you to produce better looking sketches. However, it takes time to turn on, manage sketches and to learn how to use its advance features. The authors of the book give an example of a shopping system and they compare sketching with pen/paper vs. PowerPoint. With pen/paper, it is possible to come up with a rough sketch in a reasonable amount of time. However, in order to get the right sketch with PowerPoint, we have to pay close attention to fonts, alignment, colors, size, shading, and placement of graphics. Therefore, to get a high fidelity sketch from PowerPoint (or slidewares), we have to spend more time even though it would convey the same amount of information as with pen/paper. This would interfere with capturing the basic design ideas as a quick sketch. If we wanted to spend the same amount of time that we spend on pen/paper on PowerPoint, we would only get a low fidelity sketch which would not convey the design ideas. So if we want to get the basic design ideas as a quick sketch, it would be better to sketch with pen/paper instead of slidewares because these software would take more time to produce a high fidelity prototype.


Bryan Sieber - 2/3/2014 13:43:40

I feel like Kelley's rules all would have been productive and effective if implemented at my brainstorming session. My group did not do the readings until afterwards and I feel like the process suffered a bit. The session was very much "Everybody takes a turn," which extremely cut back creativity. Also, I was assigned as the individual to type everything out. We used my computer, which limited it to the speed of my typing also. A transition to paper would have greatly increased productivity. We also had stifled creativity a few times by saying "let's get back on topic" whenever someone came up with a silly/creative idea. After both experiencing the "brainstorming" session and reading Kelley's tips, I believe knowing what not to do (and the effects of it) will aid in the act brainstorming in the future.

A few of the various sketching techniques that were mentioned were: scribble sketching, drawing with basic elements, and drawing with annotations and other various elements. Sketching on paper is quick and can be done rather fast. This is the main use of scribble sketching: fast sketches to remind yourself of something that caught your attention. The author mentions of a time when he was in the theatre and saw the double sided screens from Avatar. He was able to pull out a sketch book and quickly draw an image that reminded him later of the screens. It was extremely low fidelity and had lines out of place, but it worked. In a situation like this, slide ware would be impossible to get the idea. By the time you get the computer and software up and running (even if it was possible to do it in a theatre) the scene could have passed and potentially the idea could be lost. The speed of sketching makes it easier for on the go to generate and keep ideas. In the example provided in the reading, it is clear that the slide ware caused many limitations, took way more time, and caused the creator to make many design decisions he may not have been ready to make. The great thing about the drawing is that it was fast (perhaps not polished), it was complete, and it wasn't limiting--it seemed like an early fidelity sketch leaving many design decisions to still be made. In design, if you attempt to do a high fidelity slide ware prototype early in the process, it would be extremely limiting causing many design decisions you might not have even though about yet like spatial, color, sizing, and etc. A high fidelity prototype should be pushed off until later in the process.


Cory McDowell - 2/3/2014 13:49:51

1) The two rules I felt most effective were “Build and Jump” and “Number Your Ideas.” While the four of us were brainstorming, one of us would bring up a problem, and set the stage for ideas. Then, someone would give out the first idea, and we could continue to build off of that idea until we had a possible product to use. This created a cohesive voice for our group and allowed us to work together to actually come up with innovative ideas. Additionally, as we were coming up with these ideas, we would number them. This allowed us to easily reference past ideas to continue to build off them. Also, it was a great metric of our progress in the brainstorm. The least effective rule was “Get Physical.” We did not have a whiteboard or building materials present, so we couldn’t visualize our products. This is the one thing I would do differently: hold the brainstorm in a space equipped with a whiteboard and building materials so that everyone in the group could maintain the same, cohesive vision on how a product would look and function.

2) The first benefit of sketching on paper is that it is fast. The scribble sketches shown in the article were done very quickly and still can capture the essence of an idea. Another time paper sketches are more effective is when presenting an idea for the first time. When someone quickly sketches out an idea and presents it, it is much easier for others to critique and criticize that idea than if the presenter would have spent a few hours designing it in PowerPoint. It allows for a much more honest, open method of brainstorming.


Emily Reinhold - 2/3/2014 13:52:11

1. I wish I would have read this article last week before the brainstorming session occurred. We didn't know about these suggestions when we conducted our brainstormer, but we still ended up following some of Kelley's advice: - Build and Jump: many times one person in our group would say an idea, which triggered a chain reaction of others spewing ideas that were the same core idea, with enhancements or refinements. We found this was very effective, and made some of the good ideas even better. - Playful Rules: we didn't use this time to evaluate the practicality of ideas, but rather to produce a large quantity of wild ideas that would best solve our problems using mobile devices on-the-go. This was also effective, since it didn't limit creativity. No one had qualms about shouting out an outlandish idea.

We didn't intentionally employ any of the other techniques, as we didn't know about these seven secrets. We will keep them in mind for our group brainstorming session tonight.

One thing that we should have done better was to write out our ideas in a place visible to everyone. As Kelley mentions, this encourages creativity, and makes the group feel productive. We each wrote down out ideas individually in notebooks/laptops, which (in hindsight) was not the best medium for note taking.

2. The primary benefit of sketching on paper is that a fairly accurate sketch can be produced in a short amount of time. To produce a nice-looking sketch in slideware, it requires work to draw objects digitally if need be, align features, color them appropriately, etc. All of these tasks can be done very quickly by hand. Also, not many resources are required to produce a hand drawing, and as such, it is often the write choice for sketching on-the-go.

If you are in a restaurant and you see a lamp design that you are particularly fond of, it is easy to grab a napkin and a pen (if you have one) and sketch out the lamp's key features. This would be much more difficult and impolite to do on slideware in the restaurant. Typically, in public settings, it is probably more practical to sketch with a pen and paper than on a computer. Digital mockups are more useful farther along in the design process, when specific design decisions are being made.


Christina Guo - 2/3/2014 14:34:37

1. One of Kelley's suggestions that I used was the build and jump rule, which I felt was really effective. I started off with ideas related to the specific apps that the people I interviewed mentioned like email and stock prices, and then figured out ways similar solutions can be applied to other types of apps like music players. I also used something similar to the get physical rule, in which I played around with different apps to get ideas for ways in which they could be better adapted to on the go situations.

The least effective rule I felt were numbering my ideas. I often jumped between ideas, but I felt it was more helpful just to be able to see all the ideas on one screen that to know the specific number of each of these. I feel like this might be more useful in a group setting, where individuals can clearly refer to past ideas.

2. Benefits of sketching on paper is that it can be done on the fly, such as in a movie theatre, or in the middle of a youtube video. It's fast and gets the main point across. It's also cheaper, since you don't need any software for it. A specific example of when a sketch can be more effective is when a idea comes to you in an inconvenient location and you just want to quickly jot down the idea, such as in the example mentioned above (movie theatre, youtube video), or perhaps on a bus or when walking and something like a billboard gives you a quick idea. With a simple sketch, all you need to do is stand to the side for a few sections and quickly jot it down, whereas if you wait until you get a computer to do a high fidelity prototype, you might've forgotten the idea by then.


Peter Wysinski - 2/3/2014 14:36:36

Throughout my brainstorm I found Kelley’s suggestion to build and jump during brainstorming most effective. When ‘stuck’ I would branch from my previous idea and come up with an ideas that tackled a perviously stated problem from a different perspective. The least effective of Kelly’s suggestions was to number ideas as you come up with them. I didn’t do this till the very end as I was more efficiently to quickly type ideas down as they came to me. Once my brainstorming session was over I fixed up the grammar and coherence of my ideas and then proceeded to numbered them. During my next brainstorming session I would cover physical surfaces with paper and write my ideas out around the room; I found that using my laptop to keep track of ideas was challenging as it made it easy to delete and modify ideas as I decided that they were to ‘silly’. Furthermore, I occasionally find myself distracted when using a laptop and switched focus from brainstorming to checking emails. Two main drawbacks of sketching in ‘slideware’ are that the device takes time to turn on and you have to save your sketches as files which prevents you from easily flipping through them. Sketching on paper allows you to quickly jot down your ideas since you don't have to constrain yourself to using predefined ‘callouts’ and clipart that programs such a PowerPoint provide. Furthermore, a hand sketch looks more natural as ‘slideware’ often has predefined rulers and gridlines that you inadvertently constrains yourself to. A sketch is more effective than a high fidelity prototype when you want to quickly make note of what you saw in the real world. Furthermore, sketching is advantageous as it enables you to quickly create multiple designs of a product before the final version come to fruition. This allows for others to critique and give feedback on your designs that in-turn lets you iterate quickly — something that a high fidelity prototype would not allow you to do.


Prashan Dharmasena - 2/3/2014 14:42:06

1) Numbering ideas was very helpful, as it allowed us not only to keep track of ideas, but to easily refer to them as well. We could say "oh why don't we combine #3 and #9?" One problem we ran into was that we didn't sharpen our focus very well. Since our interviewees all had different problems, we didn't really pick one to focus on. I think if we had, our brainstorming could've been a lot better and a lot faster. I think doing a brainstorming warm-up was a good idea as well, it got us into the mode of thinking and coming up with new ideas so that we could easily transition into our brainstorming session.

2) Sketching on paper allows you to quickly generate a rough prototype. This means it is incredibly useful when brainstorming, when you just want to jot down as many ideas as you can. Then, after your brainstorming session, you can start narrowing down your ideas. This is the point at which you should start making a high-fidelity prototype. Sketching in slideware can be a good option when you want to mock-up several different designs, especially when there is some overlap in elements, since you can copy/paste. A sketch is better than a high-fidelity prototype when you haven't fully decided on the design and features. You don't want to spend tons of time coming up with multiple high-fidelity prototypes for each different design. Sketching allows you to communicate the important differences in design quickly so that the design can be narrowed down.


Sijia Li - 2/3/2014 14:41:20

1. The most effective rule suggested by Kelley for me is rule No.7: Get Physical. When we are doing brainstorm, it is crucial that our discussion is directly related to the reality. We do this by bringing in real-world products, e.g. applications that are already there in the app store, and some visual tools like sketching. In this way, those physical products and sketches facilitate our brainstorming process a lot! It is really easy and productive to brainstorm in front of those physical products and sketches.

The least effective one is "do it off-site", suggested by Kelley on Page 65 under "six ways to kill a brainstormer" section. We tried to brainstorm in a restaurant after class, but, as you might already know, everyone was suddenly too angry to do any sort of productive and effective brainstorm. "Do it off-site" just does not work for us at all. The best way is still to trap us in a room in Soda Hall so that we can carry a productive and effective brainstorm.

So, at the end, we just did the brainstorm in Soda Hall and it only toke us roughly 30 min to get it done. We had a lot of very interesting ideas from that productive brainstorm.

2. The first benefit is that sketching on paper takes a much short time than doing a "good" sketch in slideware. The second benefit is that when you sketch on a piece of paper, you do not have to care about things like "text size, alignment, the look of the buttons, spatial layout and so on". If you sketch in slideware, you will have to spend a lot more time deciding on those issues, which have little to do with the basic design ideas at all.

The example shown in the reading is a pretty convincing example. Some other examples may include sketches of a mobile application. When I sketch an interface of a mobile application, I only need to focus on the basic design ideas of the mobile application; I do not have to spend a lot of time deciding on issues like text size, alignment and the look of the buttons, etc. Sketching on paper is a much more effective and productive way to capture the basic design ideas of a product.


Sergio Macias - 2/3/2014 14:42:34

1. Build and Jump was a great and effective strategy. This is because in this scenario we were asked to redesign a mobile app for on the go and while most people did not have an idea at first on how to go about such a task, after throwing a few ideas out, it allowed others to come up with their own variations. Going off from this, it further allowed some to come up with totally new ideas. When one person saw an idea that they thought was interesting, they were able to build off that idea and go in a totally different direction that what was initially suggested. This gave for a single problem having multiple solution-ideas. The least effective suggestion, if I had to pick one, I felt was “stretch your mental muscles.” Now that I look back upon it, it might have been good for our group to do a warm-up but just wasn’t possible because our brainstorm was set up was through a Google Doc, which allowed for continuous brainstorming whenever a team member had time. Because we were “brainstorming” possibly at different times, having a group warm-up would have not been feasible. 2. Some advantages of sketching over slidware is that you are more comfortable with a pen and paper since you have been using these tools since you were a child. On the other hand, most likely the slideware you would use to make sketches would take some time to figure out all the controls and special features. In addition, it would be more difficult to draw on-the-go, because sometimes your environment wouldn’t allow you to sit down for some time, whip out your computer (only if you have a laptop), and make a sketch of your idea. This is just not plausible, if lets say, you are on a packed subway train when the idea comes to you or if you at a theater, like the author was when he did a quick sketch of the double-sided projector. Thus, sketching allows for more freedom and most feel more comfortable with a pen and paper than with a mouse/touchpad and keyboard combo.


Sijia Li - 2/3/2014 14:45:35

1. The most effective rule suggested by Kelley for me is rule No.7: Get Physical. When we are doing brainstorm, it is crucial that our discussion is directly related to the reality. We do this by bringing in real-world products, e.g. applications that are already there in the app store, and some visual tools like sketching. In this way, those physical products and sketches facilitate our brainstorming process a lot! It is really easy and productive to brainstorm in front of those physical products and sketches.

The least effective one is "do it off-site", suggested by Kelley on Page 65 under "six ways to kill a brainstormer" section. We tried to brainstorm in a restaurant after class, but, as you might already know, everyone was suddenly too angry to do any sort of productive and effective brainstorm. "Do it off-site" just does not work for us at all. The best way is still to trap us in a room in Soda Hall so that we can carry a productive and effective brainstorm.

So, at the end, we just did the brainstorm in Soda Hall and it only toke us roughly 30 min to get it done. We had a lot of very interesting ideas from that productive brainstorm.

2. The first benefit is that sketching on paper takes a much short time than doing a "good" sketch in slideware. The second benefit is that when you sketch on a piece of paper, you do not have to care about things like "text size, alignment, the look of the buttons, spatial layout and so on". If you sketch in slideware, you will have to spend a lot more time deciding on those issues, which have little to do with the basic design ideas at all.

The example shown in the reading is a pretty convincing example. Some other examples may include sketches of a mobile application. When I sketch an interface of a mobile application, I only need to focus on the basic design ideas of the mobile application; I do not have to spend a lot of time deciding on issues like text size, alignment and the look of the buttons, etc. Sketching on paper liberates me from getting stuck with those unrelated details. Thus, sketching on paper is a much more effective (time-saving) and productive way to capture the basic design ideas of a product.

Thanks. Sijia Li


Aayush Dawra - 2/3/2014 14:55:45

Out of all of Kelley's rules, the three rules I found to be the most effective while having a group brainstorm for the design assignment were 'Number your ideas', 'Playful Rules' and 'Build and Jump'. Numbering our ideas during the brainstorm lead to more organized thinking and as Kelley mentions, allowed us to jump around while exploring the ideas we listed. The second rule, 'Playful Rules', allowed us to brainstorm uninhibitedly since it curbed critiquing ideas that seemed outrageous when we first heard them. The most effective rule in my opinion was the 'Build and Jump' rule, that reignited the discussion whenever the brainstorming thinned down by exploring an idea more deeply by using it as a stepping stone for further thinking. The relatively least effective rules in my opinion were 'Stretching mental muscles', since it takes the initial spontaneity out of the discussion and diffuses the enthusiasm a bit which leads to less crazy ideas that might have turned out to be really good, and the 'Get Physical' rule, because I think that there is a lurking danger of getting stalled in 'Tunnel vision' while following this rule by trying to grapple with one idea in too much depth which is unnecessary and doesn't fall in line with the basic purpose of brainstorming. Apart from these rules, the thing that we did differently was taking a small break of around 5 minutes when we felt like we had exhausted our ideas for this session and then coming back refreshed to the discussion, which turned out to be really effective and also allowed us to refresh our perspective on the problem at hand.


Sketching on paper is more beneficial than sketching using slide ware in a number of ways, specifically considering Lo fidelity drawings. Firstly, they are much quicker to draw as opposed to slide ware which requires getting acquainted with the interface elements and the tools at the user's disposal. Secondly, interface elements require learning time upfront for accurate modeling of the prototype as opposed to paper based sketching where accuracy is relatively easy to attain without spending time adapting to any interface elements. Consider the specific example of prototyping the initial front end User Interface for a website. Since the sketch needs customer approval and will require multiple iterations, the focus is getting Lo-fi prototypes to the user as quickly as possible and not on detailing the prototypes as much. In this scenario, a paper based sketch would score better as opposed to a slide ware based sketch that might provide more detail but would stall the process of Agile development.


Seth Anderson - 2/3/2014 14:58:54

1) I found that the "Build and Jump" idea was one of the more effective of Kelley's rules. As I tried to brainstorm solutions to my problem (making smartphone usage more convenient on the BART), sticking with one idea and coming up with variations on it tended to turn out the best results. For example, when I thought of something that would notify a user a tunnel was approaching while they were on a phone call, I quickly built off this idea to think of a similar notification for text messages.

"Sharpen the Focus" also proved to be a benefit, as I began to narrow my thinking into apps that would notify the user of areas with low service, as opposed to just the general idea of usage on the BART. Having a more specific field of vision actually improved my quantity and quality of ideas.

The least effective idea was "Number Your Ideas". Having the constraint of 12 ideas had me constantly checking with myself as to how many ideas I had left, and the fact that I kept drifting back to this thought removed me from the more important brainstorm thinking. I think I could have felt a lot less stress during the brainstorm had I kept the numbers out of my mind.

There were a few things I did differently than what was recommended. First, I did not sketch out any of the ideas I did not choose. I think it could have possible benefitted me to do a sketch of many of the ideas, to see if an idea I wasn't as excited about would have surprised me in its physical manifestation. Another thing I did differently was do the brainstorm alone, which was obviously a major limiting factor on the amount of ideas coming in.

2) As seen in the reading, sketching can be far more effective physically than doing it in slideware. The speed with which one can do sketching is far faster than slideware, as it simply requires the putting of pen to paper, as opposed to having to navigate multiple menus to change different settings and choose different tools. It is also far less limiting, as nearly anything can be sketched, while slideware limits your use to the tools it has, which can lead to images that do not fit the original idea as closely.

An example of a time a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype can be seen when one comes up with a brilliant idea on the go. Like the example seen in the reading where the author made a sketch while watching Avatar, the need of a quick platform for sketching is necessary if a brilliant idea spontaneously pops up in a designers head. The use of slideware in this case would take far too long and the idea may be lost, especially if the idea comes to the designer in the form of a dream.


Everardo Barriga - 2/3/2014 15:02:15

I believe rule number two was the most effective for me. The brainstorm between my friend and I was very playful and we did not spend time critiquing each other’s ideas. It was more or less a free for all that resulted in a large amount of ideas. I think once, we actually started to argue a little bit and I called one idea ridiculous but with a little convincing my friend was able to convince me and I ended up loving the idea. This showed me that critiquing only hinders creativity and in fact kills the mood, brainstorms are much better when there is a happy ambience. I think the rule I found least effective was the build and jump. I agree that you should elaborate on some ideas but a lot of the time that led my friend and I into tangents that were completely off topic. We found that we were gaining momentum on the particular idea but we were also in turn straying from our original problem. I think it would be most effective to build upon certain ideas at the end or at least build upon them in ways that make sure you are solving the task at hand.

What I did differently than a lot of these rules was that I actually wasn’t on my feet at all for the entire brainstorm. I definitely regret not being on my feet more and physicalizing some of the ideas I had. Another thing I noticed myself doing was thinking about ideas while other people were talking and was wondering what Ideo thinks about this strategy. What is more important articulating the idea you are excited about in your head or listening to the ideas of others?

There are plenty of benefits for sketching on paper over sketching on slideware especially if you are in the beginning stages of your prototype. Sketching on paper is much quicker and you don’t have to worry about managing your sketches as files. I find that sketching lines, curves and splines in Powerpoint seems almost impossible for me. I also think that sketching in slideware tends to disturb the flow of your idea, while you are clicking around the interface looking for a rectangle the idea could have already left your brain!

I think with sketches you give the user more freedom and in turn give your brain more freedom to continue adding and building. Usually with high fidelity prototypes the functionality and interactivity has been decided and implemented which gives the user less freedom for interacting with the design. For example the app I designed for the design exercise, the user was given a sketch of my design but decided to interact with it in ways that were not apparent to her had there been a high fidelity prototype. I think sketching allows the imagination of both the user and the designer to be free!


Maya Rosecrance - 2/3/2014 15:04:45

The most effective was rule for me was “Sharpening the focus”. Once I had a good idea of the general problem I wanted to solve, in my case “What problems can technology solve for climbers that climbers typically use non-technological methods to do?” I was able to brainstorm a lot of ideas and ultimately the one I picked to prototype. The rule I felt was least effective was bringing material in for both inspiration and to play with. I felt it wasn’t necessarily relevant to the ideas I was trying to brainstorm. Instead of having physical copies of the books or apps a climber might use, I was able to just imagine them and the process a climber would have to go through.

A benefit of sketching on paper is that non-important details are left out entirely allowing the main concept to be more obvious. Its also more difficult to sketch on the fly with a computer as it has to be turned on, sketching with a mouse is awkward and you have to deal with files or slides rather than pages. Doing a sketch is often quicker than doing it on a slide and can more quickly capture the idea. If you tried to do the exact same image in powerpoint as on paper, the image would look more like a high fidelity prototype but you would have to spend quite a bit of time on spacing, alignment and other more trivial ideas possibly interfering with the process of ideation sketching.


Jeffrey Butterfield - 2/3/2014 15:09:23

Q1) The most helpful brainstorming suggestions from Kelley were his tips in his “number your ideas”, “sharpen the focus”, and “playful rules” sections. Numbering the ideas I had was an instinctive choice I made, but I could see how the process could be difficult in certain ways if that habit was omitted. The beginning of the “sharpen the focus” section, which reads “Good brainstormers start with a well-honed statement of the problem.” This tip was good to remember because I found it very easy to deviate from the assignment’s prompt during the session because I would have other, unrelated ideas while trying to answer the problem. While these are good if they can be turned into the “jumps” or “builds” Kelley mentions, or just great ideas that should be saved for another time, in order to remain productive with the current task, a defined level of focus is invaluable. Finally, his warnings against negativity are very smart, as sometimes I find myself being so self-critical that I don’t give any ideas a chance.

I didn’t follow his advice of posting ideas on the walls of my room because I felt that my brainstorming friend and I would not be able to come up with enough ideas to warrant that tactic. I am excited to try it next time in lecture to see how it compares to just making a list.

Q2) Using slideware has its place in prototyping, especially if you are at a stage in the design process where you want to begin depicting an interface on screen with thought given to details present at a higher level of fidelity. However, sketching on paper has some intrinsic benefits. First, it is a fast method that gives the designer a lot of control over the sketch, whereas any given slideware will be more cumbersome in producing even basic shapes and text. Sketching also allows for the designer to abstract away details that aren’t relevant to the current status of the design. It is easy to scribble generalizations of certain parts of the interface by hand, but on slideware an item is either missing or present, sometimes distractingly present if it is not the emphasis of the mockup.

For instance, when prototyping a compass app, generalizing the high fidelity readings of a compass is much easier by scribbling lines on paper, whereas slideware would either represent readings as text or “scribbles” using a virtual inking method, but this is cumbersome without a computer that takes pen input.



Daphne Hsu - 2/3/2014 15:13:49

I found that "sharpening the focus" and "numbering your ideas" were very effective. Since we were instructed to come up with as many ideas as possible, it helped to number each one to see how many ideas I could come up with. Having a clear idea of the problem I was trying to solve, and working with that, helped me draw my prototype by targeting specific functions of the app that I thought would be useful. Also, drawing out the prototype was effective, because before, I had a fuzzy view of what I wanted my app to look like. After I drew it out, my idea became much more concrete, and I was able to build more ideas from just looking at my initial design. The least effective "rule" was to write down all your ideas on paper for other people to see. I did this differently because I brainstormed by myself, and just wrote my ideas on my wiki page as I thought of them.

One benefit of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware is that it is harder to draw your ideas on the go, because you will have to take time to access your slideware. With a pen and paper, you can just open your notepad anywhere and start drawing. Another advantage of sketching is that you might have to use your mouse to draw in your slideware, and some new users will find it very difficult to use. In addition, it might be hard to keep all your slideware files organized on your computer if you have many of them; if you wanted to show people one of the sketches on slideware, it might take a while for you to find the file. An example of a sketch that can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when you are prototyping your initial design of a product. You want to pay attention to the product's overall goal and design, and not waste time on the details and making the prototype look good.


Gavin Chu - 2/3/2014 15:15:48

1. Out of the 7 rules Kelley outlined, I think “sharpening the focus” and “build and jump” are yhe most useful rules. Sharpening the focus is very important because brainstorming requires an objective. It’s easier to think of ideas when the task is specific. For example during the design assigniment, my partner and I would imagine ourselves i the shoes of a driver or a person on a bus. However, people also need to set their focus in a way that doesn’t limit their ideas, for example a cup holder for bikes is too narrow of a focus. While we were thinking of how a driver can interact with his phone, we first focused on the physical features that the driver has access to, for example an interactive steering wheel that controls his or her phone. Instead of relying on what the driver can see, we thought of how a friend can remotely change the driver’s GPS destination, thereby expanding our focus to other users. This proccess of thinking is also what Kelley calls build and jump. We first focused on the driver and his or her phone, then we effectively jumped to possible external control methods. One of our other idea involved using other peopl’s GPS location to accurately determine the position of bus. A rule that didn’t work so effectively was the numbering system. Since the number of our ideas is relatively small, we just refered to previous ideas by a quick summary/concept rather than using numbers.

2. There are several benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware: 1) Sketching by hand is generally faster. 2) Sketches on paper look more natural because computers use very rigid shapes and text. It’ll take more time and effort to make a computer generated sketch less awkward. 3) With practice, people can sketch on paper without looking at the paper (like in a dark movie theater). I would imagine controlling a computer without a monitor is extremely hard!

An example of when sketches can be more effective than high fidelity prototype is drawing a room layout when moving to a new house. You can draw a sketch for the movers, so the movers know where to put your furniture. It is unecessary to draw out every furniture like chairs and tables; instead, a simple rectangular box is sufficent to represent the orientation and position of each furniture. Rectangles are easy and fast to draw, so there’s really no need to draw a fancy room layout on a computer. Some may argue that a computer can help make precise measurements and draw more accurate layouts. That is definitely true, but usually approximations are enough because people have a good understanding of how big their furniture are.


Sol Han - 2/3/2014 15:28:00

1. While brainstorming for the design assignment, I found Kelley's "Number Your Ideas" particularly helpful because it brought a sense of accomplishment and allowed me to jump back more easily to previous ideas. I also found "Stetch Your Mental Muscles" very useful; looking at the various apps in the online app store helped me generate more ideas. I didn't find "Sharpen the Focus" all that applicable here because the theme of the brainstorm ("mobile apps on the go") was not all that specific. I instead found myself jumping through various contexts (kayaking, riding BART, etc.), though I think focusing on brainstorming for a particular problem could have helped me generate more novel ideas.

2. Sketching on paper is typically faster (due to various factors such as the mouse, dealing with the interface, etc.) and is therefore less likely to break a flow of brainstorming. Furthermore, when working with paper, you can use the physical space around you (as Kelley points out with tip 5, "The Space Remembers") to utilize spatial memory. One example of a situation in which simple sketches are more effective that high fidelity prototypes is when one is attempting to capture ideas they see in temporal media, such as films and music. A particular scene in a film, for example, may be too short for one to produce a higher quality sketch.


Sang Ho Lee - 2/3/2014 15:32:23

1. I feel that the most effective rule was the use of spatial memory. Drawing, sketching, and jotting down crucial ideas on to paper quickly helped me to visualize and understand the thoughts in a more concrete fashion. I also think that the idea of "building and jumping" was effective for my brainstorm. I started with a simple idea and tried to nurture it and build off of it. This led to some new ideas for add-on features to my originally simple idea. However, I did not really like having to number the ideas, as numbers seem too limiting to me. I prefer bullets as a method of organization, or even better some sort of spatial organization. 2. One benefit of sketching over slideware is that sketching requires no more tools than a writing utensil and paper. It can be done without waiting for a device to turn on and can even be done in the dark. Sketching can also be collaborative and be done in multiple configurations and on various mediums. Sketches can be more flexible as well. While slideware offers many built in drawing tools for lines and commonly used shapes and signifiers, an innovative aspect of your design may only be portrayed effectively in a sketch until it is drawn out in higher level software such as Illustrator. An example where a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype is when interaction is valued over aesthetic design. A user test that is focused on how the user interacts with certain elements of a design may be better suited to using fluid sketches rather than a high fidelity prototype so that the developer can figure how to maximize utility without turning so quickly to visual aesthetics and signifiers.


Liliana (Yuki) Chavez - 2/3/2014 15:34:17

1. The most helpful rule Kelley gave was to sharpen the focus. The problem that comes with how most people think about brainstorming is that they believe it is easy, which makes people have an attitude of not taking the brainstorming seriously. Sharpening the focus creates the guidelines so the brainstorming can have a measure of discipline. I found this helpful in my own brainstorming because we were often stuck, and it was mostly due to our focus being too focused or we were straying from the original topic.

The least effective rules were ones to do with company related situations (i.e. not working offsite, and not letting the boss overrun the brainstorm). These were not applicable because our brainstorm team had no hierarchal structure. If I were to redo the brainstorm I would be more physical. I think we lacked more movement, sketching, and diagrams and hence more inspiration to get the brainstorm going and I think it could have helped a lot get into the feel of the brainstorm.

2. The biggest emphasis of that paper was informing you that you won't have time or the necessary materials to make a super descriptive prototype all the time. The example given were when you're watching a movie, for example, or just times when you have less than a couple of seconds. In these instances it is useful to sketch on paper so that you can record that quick small idea that you had and not forget about it. Specifically, a quick prototype by paper is useful when a new idea sparks in front of your team and you need to pitch it to your team to make them consider it in a brainstorm. A high fidelity prototype in this instance is nearly impossible to do within those time constraints.


Justin MacMillin - 2/3/2014 15:38:22

1. I liked Kelley's second and fifth suggestions: "Playful Rules" and "The Space Remembers," respectively. The fact that his company encourages wild ideas has a lot to do with their success in innovation and design. Without those wild ideas I feel that products overall would have less diversity. A wild idea encourages thinking outside of the box, away from what is normal or accepted. For me as a consumer, what is different is also exciting. Wild ideas also encourage the group as a whole to think more abstractly. Once a few wild ideas are on the table people are able to build off of those existing ideas to further encourage creating something unique. The appeal to spatial memory made struck me partly because I can relate to it but also simply makes sense. Not only does this encourage movement of the team, but interaction in different areas. Team members can somewhat organize ideas or expand on ideas in different areas of a room, coming up with more ideas overall than simply focusing on one thing as an entire team. Not only is the movement aspect a correlate for movement of ideas, but also Kelley makes a great point that it makes sense as far as people remembering different thoughts based on their physical location in a room (due to their surroundings). I did not think his numbering idea was effective for a specific reason. I see what Kelley is getting at - trying to encourage as many ideas as possible by setting a goal (in his case 100 in an hour). While this may be a good idea for one innovation, it might not work well in all cases. I feel that in some cases putting a goal like that might encourage people to force ideas, rather than encouraging a flow. Putting a physical number in everyone's head could result in them not being creative but more trying to accomplish an objective. I think it is unnecessary to have a numeric goal, but instead a goal of being creative until you think that at that given moment you have come up with enough ideas. One day you might be full of ideas and the next day might be the complete opposite. In my case, I did not force myself to come up with a certain number of ideas. I knew I needed 12 for our specific assignment, so I simply thought of ideas until it felt natural to stop.

2. Sketching on paper is much faster than sketching in slideware. Designing something quickly on paper encourages speed and allows your brain to get the key ideas down quickly and figure out the finer points later. With slideware, it forces you to move much slower which naturally allows your brain more time to think and more time to encourage detail. In the case of designing the currency converter, I quickly drew a sketch on paper that probably took me 15 seconds. As I began designing it on my computer, I quickly began to realize what parts of my design I both did and did not like. This made me take much more time with the simple aspects of the design such as placement of objects, their size, etc. I liked the sketch on paper much better because it was quick and allowed me to draw up a few designs in only a minute or two.


Emon Motamedi - 2/3/2014 15:43:02

1) "Sharpen the focus" was probably the most effective of Kelley's rules during my brainstorming. In brainstorming, I reached out to friends and family to see what applications they would redesign and how they would do so. The initial question I posed to them was "How would you redesign a specific mobile application that you use on the go (while walking, bicycling, driving etc) to serve you better?" I quickly found that this question was too broad as responses were more focused on redesigning a specific mobile application regardless of its usage while on the go. I didn't want to make the question too narrow by citing specific methodologies my respondents could use to redesign an app for on the go usage, so instead I rephrased the question and asked for a redesign that would specifically assist in challenges faced during on the go usage. This yielded many more beneficial responses.

A second effective solution of Kelley was the "Build and Jump" tactic, and more specifically the jump portion. Oftentimes during the brainstorm, my colleagues would lose steam in terms of their idea generation and seemed to be incapable participate further. At these points, I would ask what apps could benefit from a specific type of redesign and how would they benefit. For instance, what apps could benefit from using vibration as a means of communication and how could they benefit? This allowed the conversation to continuously flow and alleviated the lowered energy.

A suggestion I found ineffective was "Number Your Ideas." We began the brainstorm with the knowledge that we had to reach 12 ideas, but I felt that this target made the group feel forced to come up with ideas and didn't allow the ideas to come naturally. Had there not been a target, I feel that the group may have been able to come up with even more ideas as they would not have felt pressure around a looming number to reach.

Something I didn't do (and hence did differently) was "Stretch Your Mental Muscles." I felt that the group was limited by time and hence did not want to take up too much of that time going through a creative exercise. However, had I done so, perhaps responses would have been improved both in terms of quantity and quality.

2) Sketching allows the sketcher and observers of the sketch to focus on the main ideas of the sketch and not get bogged down by minor details in the sketch. Sketching on paper can also be much quicker than using slideware and can occur almost anywhere, whereas slideware requires the usage of a computer. Finally, a sketch in slideware can oftentimes look more finalized than a sketch on paper, which may lead observers to wrongly assume that the slideware sketch is very similar to what the end product will look like.

Over my internship, I had an experience where a sketch would have been much more effective than my high fidelity prototype. I was building an interface on Microsoft Access, and wanted to get my managers opinion on one aspect of the interface. However, when I showed my manager the interface, he began making corrections to other aspects of the interface that I wasn't even finished yet and didn't want him to consider. Had a made a sketch of the one aspect I wanted feedback on and showed it to him, I would have avoided the situation.


Aman Sufi - 2/3/2014 15:53:54

1. The most effective suggestions offered by Kelley in my opinion were sharpening the focus, numbering ideas, and build and jump. The first time I sat down to brainstorm, I quickly forgot that the main focus of the brainstorm was apps that could be used on the go rather than apps that were to rely on audio and recording for the user interface. This could have been avoided if I had kept the focus in mind while brainstorming rather than just going from one idea to the next. Numbering ideas was very useful in reaching the target goal of 12 for the assignment, as without it my ideas seemed to become a sea of thoughts rather than a focused list of ideas, and allowed me to keep up my motivation to continue brainstorming. And lastly, building and jumping allowed me to direct my brainstorming in productive directions and keep a continuous stream of ideas going. In my case, I went from building off a key idea from my interview, then when that was exhausted, I began to focus on app ideas to keep the user alert and well reminded of what they were trying to do, and ended up with a focus on making navigation easier and more efficient.

Generally speaking, I agreed with all of Kelley’s points on what not to do in a brainstorm: Bosses’ orders limit the scope of the employee’s thoughts and put pressure on them, turns become awkward and limit response and contribution of thoughts in the moment, and experts are not going to be the ones actually using the product in the end, however much they may be knowledgeable on a topic. Off-site brainstorms make the office seem duller when the employees come back and stifle their imagination, while condemning radical ideas stems creativity and the thought process, and writing down everything, the good and the bad, is not very helpful overall in driving the brainstorming process in a favorable direction or finding out what is good in all the ideas generated.

Kelley’s 7th point of getting physical was not very applicable generally to the brainstorming process for mobile applications, especially since most of them are contained within the phone and do not need any external accessories. However, in the case where an app actually interacts with or senses input using an innovated accessory, this principle could come in handy.

One thing I did differently from Kelley’s second rule of having playful rules was that despite not allowing debate or critique on ideas by others, I tried to prevent individual ideas from taking over the discussion and dominating them, which is counterproductive as attention is diverted from other possible ideas that could be equally or more innovative. It’s easy to go off on a tangent, so no one idea should be given too much time to be developed by the one who thought of it, and the people in the brainstormer should be sure to express their ideas concisely and effectively, only conveying the necessary parts which are relevant to the main focus of the brainstormer.

2. Sketching on paper is more natural for the average amateur drawer, and utilizing the premade templates, shapes, and cliparts provided by slideware may constrain and limit the ability of the scribbling sketcher to jot down the ideas exactly as they were envisioned. In addition, it is much harder to adjust smaller details and undo small errors, as compared to a pencil where you can show varying shading across an object very easily using hatching and an undo is as easy as turning the pencil around and using the eraser to remove a small blemish.

When implementing a high-fidelity prototype, it can be easy to get bogged down in the details and spend a lot of time deciding on aspects of the design such as color, font, font size, line weight, and other features which don’t have to really be decided until the final release version is created and have little bearing on the overall design of the product. A sketch on paper can usually avoid these pitfalls because they it is usually created with the expectation of approximating the overall look and feel of a product rather than the specifics of it while still maintaining a reasonable structure though hand drawn lines, shapes, arrows, and callouts. In addition, it is much easier to draw emphasis to certain items and leave other areas omitted with scribbles or blotted out than it is to do on slideware presentations, which are flat and do not provide the depth of illustrations.


Diana Lu - 2/3/2014 15:59:47

With the brainstorm I conducted for the design assignment, I felt that the Kelley rule that was the most effective was sharpening the focus without making it too narrow, as well as the idea behind writing everything down in a large space so that the progression of ideas can stay visible. I think the least effective was numbering my ideas since I didn't often have to jump back and forth between them since most of them were largely unrelated. The main thing I did differently was not using a mental exercise to prepare for the brainstorming.

There are a few benefits to sketching on paper over sketching in slideware. One of the main benefits is that you have the freedom to sketch whenever and wherever, meaning the sketches have the opportunity to capture inspiration in a way that sketching in slideware cannot. For example, if I were to have a sudden idea while grocery shopping, I could grab a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch out a rough idea. Sketches can also be superior to hi-fi mockups when detailing how an app is to be used, because it can be easier to sketch out the situation in which the application is intended to be used, and lo-fi mockups are more easily annotated to denote usage.


Zack Mayeda - 2/3/2014 16:01:41

1. During my brainstorm, I think Kelley's rule #2 (Playful rules) was the most effective. By not criticizing each other's ideas, everyone was more open to share any idea they had, no matter how wild it may have been. Some of the wild ideas even led to solid, less wild ideas. I found rule #5 (the space remembers) the least effective. The people I brainstormed with didn't look at the paper that I was writing down our ideas on - they mostly focused on speaking and listening. Next time I will number my ideas because I quickly found out that ideas on paper can get jumbled together, and many ideas are combinations of previous ideas.

2. Sketching can be an effective way to create a quick prototype of an idea and capture the spirit of the product. It is also easy for sketching to be a collaborative activity, with several people adding to the same sketch or making tweaks. Another small benefit of sketching is that there may be fewer distractions in the design process (no popups on screen or other applications running). Specifically, it can be very time consuming to capture the spirit of an existing interface with slideware. It involves replicating font, color, shape, and can time a long time to perfect. However, sketching can be very quick and effective at get the general spirit of an interface with replicating it exactly.


Shana Hu - 2/3/2014 16:21:52

I felt like getting physical was one of the most effective tips for brainstorming. Actually creating a physical prototype and seeing it in the intended context was helpful for figuring out what was feasible and would work best. I also think bodystorming was an important factor for realizing how mobile devices actually work on the go. Motion was an important factor, and I found it helpful to picture things in context. I also found sharpening the focus helpful for getting to the root of real problems, instead of vague ideas. I actually didn't number my ideas, although I can see how this can be helpful for keeping track of quantity. I chose to instead write each idea on a different post-it and then stick them to the wall. As the cluster grew, I moved the post-its around to group them by similar categories or concerns.

Sketching on paper is much more natural and allows you to express your ideas freely. Slideware or digital programs often constrain you and your motions. Often you are limited to using built in shapes or other unnatural objects, which make it hard to convey emotion and purpose, two factors which are important for understanding the user experience. Sketching also takes less time because there is less focus on what the sketch looks like and more focus on what the sketch conveys. Sketches are particularly important when you want to explore how the user will interact with your product. By using paper instead of a slideware program, it is easy to expressively depict motion, such as zooming in or out of a screen, or walking and running. After all, it's easier to draw a star-person than to create a person on Powerpoint.



Kevin Johnson - 2/3/2014 16:23:15

The first rule is critical. All of the brainstorming in the world will be of little use if the brainstorming subject is poorly chosen. Sometimes you can still stumble into a good answer, but generally, bad foundations yield bad outcomes. It is not necessary to number ideas, however. Referring to an idea by number is no easier than referring to it by concept; if an idea cannot be distinguished from other ideas with a simple identifying phrase, it is probably not a significant idea.

Many computer programs - Powerpoint included - are designed to grant fine control over presentation details at the expense of usability. Sketching requires very little detail, so the greater power of those programs is irrelevant, and the user is left to struggle with the overly complicated interface. With that said, software designed for quick sketch use, such as OneNote, can be very good. However, it is trivially easy to find situations where a sketch is superior. Even the simplest computer is bulkier and more time-consuming to use than a sketchbook. When speed is important - in a brainstorming session, or when trying to visually demonstrate a point - sketching is better.


Insuk Lee - 2/3/2014 16:27:34

1. While I was brainstorming, the one thing that was the most helpful was to "sharpen my focus". By focusing on the fact that the goal is to make apps that will make it easier for people who are walking, biking, or driving, instead of focusing narrowly on "transportation app", "navigation app", and "utility app", I was free to be more creative and spontaneous in my ideas. Also, by being playful and encouraging myself of wild ideas, there was no boundary in imagining great ideas. I also decided to number my ideas, as the goal was to think of 12, and it helped me set a point to look forward to, but other than that it was not as effective as I thought. If it were a more extensive brainstorming session, writing the ideas up on the walls (room laid with whiteboard walls) would definitely boost the synergy and atmosphere of the brainstorming session.

2. As talked about in the article, sketching on paper is definitely more advantageous when needing to quickly jot the idea down on paper, when multitasking, or under time constraints. Sketching using slideware, I imagine is more for formal kinds of presentations, when things need to be recorded neatly and in a group setting, where everbody needs to understand what the sketch means. However, it definitely extends the artistic ability of most people and also can be easier for drawing complicated images, as copying and pasting the image would do. Also, it would take less time and would suffice to draw out the prototype, a website for example, using these slideware than writing html, css and javascript code to make it work.


Nicholas Dueber - 2/3/2014 16:43:15

1. When we were brainstorming we did a good job of numbering the ideas as well as having playful rules. We didn’t try to critique, but rather we tried to build upon their ideas. This also goes along with the “build and jump” rule. We were open to wild ideas and finding problems that we could fix; however, we did not approach the brainstorming activity with a problem statement. I think if we were to do it again, we would try to have several problem statements that we could look at and try to build on. I like Kelley’s rule of “The space remembers” and “Get physical”, our group was limited to discussing and writing down in a word document, but I can definitely see how having a large piece of paper to write on is beneficial to the group. It encourages collaboration and multiple people can be writing down something at once. It doesn’t restrict the group to having to have only one person describe their ideas at a time. 2. Sketching by hand allows for more creativity. You can focus on what you want to convey rather than on finding certain objects to use in your slideware to convey an idea. Sketching by hand is often better if you are in a rush or if you just want to jot down a quick layout of an idea. A specific example for when it is better to sketch is when I was jotting down a circuit design it was a lot faster to convey the configuration by hand then with an editor. Another example is when there isn’t a particularly user friendly graphical editor for a task, this for instance is the case when trying to draw out what you want an application or web page to look like. When developing a website, I have often found it better to use paper and pencil than sketching in slideware.


Matthew Deng - 2/3/2014 16:44:38

Had I read the reading prior to brainstorming, I feel like I would have gotten a much better brainstorm. One thing that I felt went wrong was that I did not really have a particular focus for my brainstorm. I did not have a specific problem that I wished to address, so almost none of my ideas had anything to do with one another. Because of this, numbering the ideas did not do much for me. On the other hand, I felt that the "playful rules" worked very effectively. Rather than having a dull brainstorming session, I tried to think out of the box and was extremely proud of the creativity that I was able to use when brainstorming. Building and jumping was also something I did in order to go from simple, bland solutions to creative and effective ones. Unfortunately, I did not warm up or draw or build anything, although I do feel like that would have further improved the outcome of my brainstorm.

Within the text, it says that sketching on paper has a number of benefits over sketching in slideware. It is much easier to always have a writing utensil and paper on you than a laptop or other device, and it also probably takes less time to sketch a design than to turn on a laptop, making it much easier to sketch on paper as soon as an idea comes to your mind. Going on from that, sketching even a really simple design in slideware will take a lot more time than sketching on paper, as most people have been drawing by hand since they were very young. In addition, I personally think that sketching on paper allows you to focus on the concept and layout of the design rather than the smaller details . For example, when first designing an application, it is important to first know what functions to add rather than exactly where to put them, and this is where a sketch can and will be more effective than a high fidelity prototype.


Christopher Echanique - 2/3/2014 16:52:43

The most effective of Kelley’s rules on brainstorming was to build and jump. In our brainstorm, we used this rule to identify specific problems of mobile phone use on the go and explore the space of solutions by bouncing off of each other’s ideas. For example we started with the problem that people have with texting while walking. Suggestions of possible solutions plateaued around changing the interface to make typing easier to use, such as providing a larger keyboard. However we suggested a different angle by considering solutions that leverage the phone’s hardware, such as using the gyroscope to stabilize the screen UI and make it easier for people to read and type. The least effective of Kelley’s rules was to use all the space in the room to write down ideas. We found this to be unnecessary and instead created a shared Google Doc to record all of our ideas. This was effective enough for the purpose of this assignment and made our process organized since we were able to number each idea and review them as needed.

The main benefit of sketching on paper is that it takes less time to produce a sketch than it would if Powerpoint was used. While Powerpoint can produce perfect shapes and lines, it is very difficult to sketch objects and people using the sketch feature and the mouse. Sketching with pencils and paper is an easy way to get rough ideas down in a faster and more effective manner. An example of this is when someone wants to provide a quick mockup an interface to get user feedback, as we did for our design assignment. Instead of spending time designing a high fidelity prototype in Powerpoint, it is easier to sketch it out on paper first and get feedback to see what components of the interface might need improvement.


Sangeetha Alagappan - 2/3/2014 16:58:56

1. The brainstorm I conducted for the design assignment consisted of jotting down a couple of ideas and thinking about the problem myself before working with a group of CS160 students who brainstormed on Google Docs. One of Kelley’s rules that was followed (and was very effective) was to hold back critique which allowed for a free flow of ideas and diversity of thought. It was also quite helpful to “sharpen the focus”; reminding ourselves to bring the fairly open-ended problem (enhancing mobile applications for on-the-go mobile phone users) to the forefront and not lose ourselves in the ideation process. Another rule we followed was to number our ideas which did motivate us to try and think of as many ideas as possible. However, I felt that the system of numbering ideas was ineffective in giving any logical structure to the process and didn’t like Kelley suggests, make it easy to jump back and forth between ideas. I think however that numbering would complement physical sketching and writing down ideas quite well as it engages the spatial memory and gives a means to track the flow of thought. One big thing that we did differently was brainstorm online; which is a fascinating way of brainstorming because people are less inhibited in sharing their ideas, unconcerned of other people interrupting them and aware of the ability to “take back” an idea by simply deleting it off the document. However, since it’s online, the entire group may not be aware of all the ideas and it’s harder to springboard off other ideas. We should, in hindsight, have had a facilitator to guide our brainstorm, to include ‘build’ and ‘jumps’ and ensure our ideas were all relevant. An online brainstorm loses out on the camaraderie and friendly competition that a physical brainstorm encourages.

2. In the Greenberg, Carpendale, Marquardt and Buxton reading, sketching is appreciated as a quick, efficient ability to convey ideas through drawing without much attention to detail. Sketching on paper is an activity that can be practiced nearly anywhere - all one needs is a writing utensil of sorts (pen, pencil, quill, chalk) and paper. This is a major benefit over sketching in Powerpoint - software that requires a computer, electricity and some technical expertise. It is more natural and flexible to sketch on paper; there are very few rules and limits and sketches are easier to annotate with text and arrows. Sketching on paper is a cheaper and portable option to Powerpoint and is more attractive to people because using writing utensils is an age old skill mastered by the human race. Alignment and physical sketching takes a lot more effort, practice, knowledge and time to get right in Powerpoint whereas sketching on paper is nearly intuitive.

In lots of areas in the world, sketches are used to glean vital information without bothering about intricacies; sketches of suspects, initial sketches of cars before they’re commissioned for production, brainstorming website layouts. The specific example of web design is an example of how a sketch can be more effective than a high fidelity prototype. When web designs are sketched, they express a variety of ideas and visions and can easily be created, scrapped and rebuilt. They aid the design process and help give designers and developers a clearer idea of what they’re working with before they dive in. Working with a high fidelity prototype is ineffective in web design; if the design isn’t given the green light, it would mean hours of effort, design, code and work a waste. It is impossible to effectively design websites (and web/mobile apps as well) without sketches.


Meghana Seshadri - 2/3/2014 17:01:46

(1) The most effective ones of Kelley's rules are sharpening the focus and stretch your mental muscles. Looking back at my brainstorming ideas, many of them were originated from first figuring out a core, but basic and generic problem that many people have, or even an outcome of some sorts. Person A wants to be able to do B. What feature or service can I create that will make this happen? Plenty of the ideas that I created were also jump started once I changed my scenery and stretched my boundaries. I transitioned from my desk to the train, and as I sat on the train I observed the people around me and analyzed their characteristics, behaviors, and apparent needs as they used this public transportation service. From there, ideas of possible improvements or even fresh ones came to my mind that could figure out some issues or problems that people seemed to have. The least effective of Kelley's rules was numbering your ideas. While this may give a motivation towards the person brainstorming, it could inadvertently also be a barrier of some sorts. It could give some sort of mental block and hence, refrain the person from thinking more than just the specified number of ideas. Something that I did differently was I didn't employ the use of pen and paper as much as I just typed out my ideas on the computer as I was formulating them. However, I believe that scribbling out ideas and seeing them through visuals rather than just words benefits the brainstorming process a lot.

(2) There are a variety of benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware. They can be done anywhere, anytime, and practically by anyone as long as you have a pencil and something to draw on. They cost much less and easy to create, and re-create (which will occur a lot as you make improvements to your design). Many people know how to use a pencil and paper as compared to some slideware technology. For example, if you're creating a currency converter, a simple sketch could be more effective in order to map out the basic functionality and outlook of the converter (which in this case is: a user gives an amount in a chosen currency and chooses another currency to convert it to). By creating a high fidelity prototype, you waste time deciding on things such as font type and size, alignment, and the layout of the entire thing in itself. These things can come in the way when the goal is to just create a quick visual that portrays the basic idea of the product/service.


Opal Kale - 2/3/2014 17:10:42

The most effective rule is "Stretching your mental muscles." Particularly, I liked that Kelley placed an emphasis on getting to know your group mates; it was also interesting that the experiments showed that the participant groups who "stretched their mental muscles" were much more successful than the one that didn't. The least effective rule, in my opinion, is numbering your ideas. I think it's the least effective because with a numbered list, people are just working towards getting to that numbered goal, and the ideas become less creative because the goal of the brainstorming session turns into reaching a certain number instead of producing good ideas. When I brainstormed, I took breaks instead of trying to reach 12 ideas at once. I tried to come up with 4-5 ideas in different sessions, at different times in the day.

Paper sketching takes less time because you don’t have to turn a device on. You can also sketch anywhere, at anytime—whereas with a digital device you must have that device with you. Freehand with a mouse is also painful, and you have to learn how to use advanced tools. Freehand is better than a high fidelity prototype because it can be done much faster and capture the essence of the basic design idea.


Cheng Sima - 2/3/2014 17:16:39

1) Kelley gives many rules and suggestions for how to effectively brainstorm. Reflecting upon the brainstorming for the design assignment, I agreed with most of Kelley's rules. One of the most effective suggestion was "Get Physical". I was also "bodystorming" and the most relevant ideas came out while I was holding my phone and walking. By physically simulating using the phone on the go, I came up with many ideas. Numbering all the ideas and never criticizing any wild or weird idea was also helpful because that lets the unusual solutions to come out and be remembered in an organized way.

For this particular exercise, mind stretching didn't work because when I researched on current solutions, they were stuck in mind and to a certain extent, hindered my creativity.

What I did differently was to mostly brainstorm with potential users, and I didn't really sharpen the focus topic since the assignment was already quite open-topic.

2) There are many benefits of sketching on paper over sketching in slideware. Firstly, sketching on paper is much faster, as you don't need to turn on an electronic device, find the application, and bother with the formatting details. Secondly, with practice you can easily drawn on paper without actually looking, which can facilitate multitasking. Finally, annotations are much easier to understand as they are usually spatially relevant, and people don't need to flip through slides and files to understand the links.

Here is a specific example of when a sketch can be more effective:

You are in a meeting, and someone's comment sparked your creativity, and you need to quickly jot down this fleeting idea, and show it to your co-workers. However, your boss is speaking now, and it is rude to take out an electronic device (what's worse, imagine that your laptop is also out of battery) and not have eye contact with your boss.

In this case, sketching your idea out ensures that the critical idea can be captured as fast as possible while still having eye contact with your boss. Once the sketch is done, you can also show it to people at the meeting for very quick feedback during the meeting. They can easily understand your idea even when the sketch has multiple pages, and they can even sketch on the paper as well for immediate additions and other suggestions.


Max Dougherty - 2/3/2014 17:16:52

While I found many of the rules posed by Kelley to be very effective methods of facilitating brainstorming, nothing felt more effective than his build and Jump approach. The notion of facilitating a train of thought until a “plateau” and then recognizing a need to “change gears” was very important in my approach. It kept me from lingering on an idea and as a result gave me great diversity of solutions. I did not however agree with all of Kelley’s rules. The structured requirement to number ideas created an internal pressure to produce more ideas rather than what I perceived to be more valuable ideas. The need for range is important, but to create a hard line like 12 for the assignment takes away from the fluidity of a brainstorm.

Sketching on paper allows one to quickly produce a mock up of an idea. Without the distraction or requirement to understand an manipulate a foreign interface for design, a piece of paper and writing tool are completely unrestrictive in domain and can be produced in a few seconds. Without a need of hardware, as was mentioned in the reading, an individual with an idea can produce a memorable sketch on the back of a napkin in a restaurant or in a dark movie theater. High fidelity prototypes take a large amount of time to organize and are not always easily modified. In a meeting with clients, the ability to receive feedback on a quickly hand drawn sketch can be invaluable in receiving immediate feedback before time and effort are spent on building a true prototype.


Robin Sylvan - 2/3/2014 17:18:19

   I think one of the rules we were able to use effectively in the brainstorm was the idea of “build and jump.” We effectively were able to shift gears in our brainstorm. For example, we shifted gears from talking about voice-controlled mapping programs to other potential improvements from voice control and came up with ideas for its use with music. One of the rules we definitely didn't follow was numbering our ideas. We grouped them by category, but didn't focus on actually numbering them. This didn't appear to be much of a problem, but it potentially could have helped. We also didn't actually write on a whiteboard – we met at a coffee shop and just wrote notes down on the computer. We may have been more effective if we were to have a drawing board to share our ideas.
   Scribble sketching on paper is very lightweight, fast method for creating idea prototypes. When you try to create prototypes with slideware, you have to have your computer open – this isn't possible in all circumstances. One of the examples was how the brainstormer got an idea during a movie – taking out a computer in the middle of a film would be inappropriate. Also, when creating a computer-generated prototype it takes a lot longer to make something look good. Much more attention to detail is required to keep the prototype from looking wrong (i.e. more attention must be paid to shading, button looks, color, etc...) Sketching enables much faster creation of prototypes in more dynamic situations.


Patrick Lin - 2/3/2014 17:22:52

1) The most important rule Kelley mentioned is probably sharpening the focus on a problem. Having the correct scope ensures brainstormers are not inhibiting their ideation by concentrating too narrowly on distinct products or interfaces, and also keeps the group on task instead of throwing out random ideas. It was a bit difficult in the last assignment to follow this because many of the ideas my friend and I came up with weren’t framed around a specific problem, more about using apps on-the-go in general. Numbering the ideas also wasn’t as useful for that particular assignment because we spent much less time brainstorming than the 100 ideas per hour the reading sets as a target. I also broke several of the rules as I definitely criticized some of my friend’s more ridiculous ideas rather than building off of his suggestions, and did not sketch much or warm up beforehand, which likely negatively impacted the quality of our ideas.

2) While high-fidelity prototypes are great for presenting a narrowing or finalized product idea, brainstorming, as IDEO states, aims for quantity. When there are a large number of ideas being pitched, it is more important to have rough sketches of a possible interface or product because so many will end up thrown out anyways, or incorporated into a final idea. Sketching on paper is generally faster and also more convenient to use when someone sees an interesting design or is struck with sudden creative inspiration. In the article, for example, the author describes seeing an interesting design while watching a movie in the theather, and is able to capture it by quickly (and blindly) drawing it down, something not possible with a computer.


Hao-Wei Lin - 2/3/2014 17:43:15

1. For me, I think numbering the ideas was the most effective. This is because while I was brainstorming, a lot of ideas came out to be very similar, yet differ in minor detail, such as the interface, or the add-on features that the applications include. Numbering the ideas help me easily recognize which ideas I liked the most.

2. Paper sketching is easier to handle between teammates because you don't have to rotate the screen for the other ones to see and do adjustment. When we use paper, when one makes any changes, the other ones can easily see. An example is using a prototype to test user experience. This is example, the user can easily mark where the interface he/she had troubles with, and the designer can get feedback immediately.


Romi Phadte - 2/3/2014 18:02:09

1. A suggestion that I found really effective was emphasizing quantity over quality initially. This allows for no restrictions of ideas by an existing mind set or schema. This was something that I didn't do for my brainstorm since I always kept a pragmatic mental check on my ideas. The least effective for me is getting physical since code and apps can rarely be modeled in three dimensional space.

2. Sketching on paper allows for rapid prototyping that is cheaper and quicker than any other method (including powerpoint). A good example of its advantage is when talking to users of the app (designing an app for kids for example). These kids can help design for the app by drawing on the sketch prototypes and help control the growth and design of the app.


Sol Park - 2/3/2014 21:10:11

1. According to Kelley, most people are not doing the brainstorming as quite often they should be. Brainstorming are not presentations. She mentions it "is an opportunity for teams to 'blue sky' ideas early in a project or to solve a tricky problem that's cropped up later on". She argues to brainstorming regularly and effectively makes the group more productive. She mentions seven secrets for better brainstorming:sharpen the focus(clear statement of the problem),playful rules(do not critique or debate), number your ideas, build and jump, space remembers(power of spatial memory),stretch your mental muscles, and get physical. I think sharpen the focus, playful rules, number my ideas, and build and jump were the most effective and get physical was least effective. I agree with the author with the rules except get physical. This is probably just because i am not good with drawing and i do not like to draw. It seemed to work with my other teammates. I would rather just keep writing down the ideas and words over and over again until i come up with different ideas.

2. By sketching on paper, we can sketch and erase details more precisely. We do not need to scroll to look at the large-scaled sketches. We can draw on a large paper(bigger than the computer screen) and see the whole picture at a glance. With a large paper, people can draw at once to build the ideas on someone else's ideas.


Nahush Bhanage - 2/4/2014 6:01:45

1) Reflecting on the brainstorm we conducted for the design assignment, following are some of Kelley's rules and suggestions that I think were most effective:

- We had a specific problem statement in mind before the brainstorming session kicked off, thus ensuring that we don't keep on discussing aimlessly. Nevertheless, we tried to keep it as open-ended as possible. That definitely helped us think beyond the obvious.

- We focused on quantity, thereby generating lots of ideas to think upon. We didn't discard any idea - even if it didn't sound viable, there was always a likelihood of another idea being spawned off from it.

- We built on top of each other's ideas and exploited the scenario as much as possible before jumping onto a totally different one.

- We tried to keep our brainstorming as much visual as possible by drawing sketches to describe use-cases.

- Everyone jumped in with ideas. We didn't go round the table in a time-shared manner.

I think 'numbering the ideas' was the least effective of all. I agree that once you have a significant number of ideas on the table, numbering them gives a feel-good sense. While it can have a motivational effect, it can also make you feel complacent - if you think you have sufficient number of ideas, then you might stop looking for more and thereby miss out a better one.

One thing that we did differently - we tried to combine every new idea with each of the existing ones to generate non-obvious use-cases, which further helped us come up with new ideas. It was like a chain reaction.


2) Sketching on a paper has a significant number of advantages over sketching in slideware.

- Sketching on paper allows you to capture ideas on the fly, whereas a slideware takes time to open and get configured.

- In a high fidelity prototype, you spend a lot of time working on details such as text size and spatial layout when the focus should have been on capturing the basic design.

- It is cumbersome to do freehand sketching with a mouse. This is much simpler on paper.

- To make use of slideware effectively, you need to understand its interface and learn to use its features.

- Finally, sketching on paper is intuitive and you don't need to have any special skills to draw an effective sketch.

Consider a hypothetical scenario. You come across the latest Porsche parked on the street. You are a car enthusiast and you want to draw its sketch. Drawing the sketch on paper would be more effective than a high fidelity prototype for the the following reasons -

(a) You need to be a highly skilled designer to be able to make a realistic replica of the car's shape using slideware. In case you're not, then the slideware sketch won't look as realistic as the one on paper.

(b) Pencil-shading is an important aspect of sketching on paper, which makes the sketch look very realistic.

(c) You don't have time to open a digital sketching tool and play around with tool-bars to access different sketching utilities. You'd rather jump off with a paper and pencil - you'll be able to capture the important details quickly.


Zhiyuan Xu - 2/4/2014 21:11:27

For the design assignment, it was very helpful to sharpen the problem at hand. Each individual interviewee had a number of problems relating to using their mobile device on the BART, and it was difficult to brainstorm solutions that would solve all problems. In the end, it was easier to step back and look at element that was common in every single problem listed and brainstorm for that specific problem. Numbering ideas was the least helpful brainstorming strategy. Having a certain quota to meet gave the brainstorming session a more forced quality as opposed to a flowing of ideas. Next time, it would definitely be more helpful to sketch and act out or "bodystorm" ideas. Instead of just mentally picturing a situation, more details may be noticed if the situation was acted or sketched out.

As pointed out in the sketching techniques reading, sketching via a digital device may take longer than hand sketching, but may be more organized, as the fonts and lines will look cleaner. Digital sketching may come off as more of a prototype-looking mock up than a penciled sketch. However, a penciled sketch may be more convenient than a high fidelity prototyping--for example, in the rapid prototyping stage of the design cycle, it is effective and less wasteful of time to create a basic outline of the product in order to test the product before actual production. Furthermore, with a pencil sketch, it is easier and quicker to convey an idea at a brainstorming session.