Sketching in HCI: A Hands-on Advanced Course Research Practice and Publication

ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 25 to 30 April 2020

Sketching in Human-Computer Interaction is a valuable tool for subjective practice, but also a tool for engagement with collaborators, stakeholders, and participants. This hands-on practice can be utilised in a variety of situations and contexts. The course enables those already in possession of sketching skills the confidence to take their work to the next level. Drawing from expertise gained by working in both academia and industry, the instructors will lead course attendees on a journey through practical applications of sketching in HCI, from subjective sketching to participant engagement and publishing, using hands-on tasks and group activities.


Detailed Course Structure

  1. Warmup – Sketch your research area without text.
  2. Expectations/Answers group discussion.
  3. Introduction to visual storytelling.
  4. Creating visual abstracts.
  5. Best practice for creating comics/scenarios.
  6.  Visual Economy – Draw a scenario in 6, 3, 1 panel(s).
  7. InfoVis and sketching introduction.
  8. Data sketching task.
  9. Working with participants
  10. Sketch Analysis, data from sketches.
  11. Group discussion about design fiction
  12. Group brainstorming session on sketching in individual practice
  13.  Working with accessibility/alt text
  14. HCI Improv sketching game

Instructor-led group discussions have been identified as an activity as it is believed it will enable participants to learn from instructors’ own advanced sketching in HCI experience but also one another. The instructors will ensure feedback is given to each participant during the course.

Participants will also be invited to join our existing network, ‘Sketching in HCI’: engaging with sketching research and practice in HCI at

Course History

Sketching in HCI courses at CHI 2018 and CHI 2019  and a special interest groups Sketching in HCI at CHI 2018 and Sketching in HCI 2.0 CHI 2019 has been previously given by the authors. Similar courses and workshops have been provided by the authors at: DIS 2017, NordiCHI 2016, and TReSSPASS Summer School 2016. Lewis has provided industry tuition at Design Exchange UK 2019, Agile in the City: London 2019, UX Cambridge 2018, UX in the City: Manchester 2018, UX Oxford 2017, UX Scotland 2017, UX Leeds 2017, UX Bristol 2016, UCD 2015, and TCUK 2014. Sturdee has carried out sketching in HCI related research. This CHI 2020 course will provide a practical learning and hands-on session for attendees, containing the more advanced material from the original course alongside new and contemporary exercises based on sketching applications in HCI.

Instructors biography

Miriam Sturdee is a Research Fellow at Lancaster University, specialising in creative practices in computer science. She holds an MFA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh college of art, and works at the intersection of art and computing, as well investigating how sketching practice can support the development of novel technologies and public engagement.

Makayla Lewis is postdoctoral research fellow at the University of the Arts London, she uses visual methods to explore human factors of cybersecurity, smart money, and artificial intelligence. Makayla is also an accomplished visual thinker and sketcher who organizes the monthly, SketchnoteLDN amongst other sketching events and courses, and provides visuals and sketchnotes for international companies and conferences such as CHI and ISS.

Instructors resources

Makayla Lewis contains HCI sketchnotes, daily sketches and illustrations, and links to public engagement events e.g. SketchnoteLDN, sketching crib sheets and worksheets, and Adobe XD sketching feature. Authors co-authored ACM Interactions magazine features the latter is also ACM featured blog. Other helpful resources include Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook, Dear Data, and Visual Research Methods [10] (applicable research from social sciences).

Course notes will be produced before course and shared.

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