Let’s Sketch! A Hands-on Introductory Course on Sketching in HCI

ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 8-13, 2021 Yokohama, Japan.

Hand-drawn sketching is a practice as old as our ancestors. From cave painting to picture-books, we have explored the world with our visual senses. Within Human-Computer Interaction, sketches can be used to document, ideate, and describe concepts between researcher, user, or client. Attendees will leave the course with the confidence to engage actively with sketching on an everyday basis in their research practice.

Image 1 - CHI 2018 Attendee Sketches of People and Actions

Detailed Course Structure

  1. Warm-up ‘The Humble Line’
  2. Icebreaker ‘Participant Portraits’
  3. Exemplar Sketch Gallery
  4. Visual Language
  5. Applying Sketching in HCI Research & Practice
  6. “Without Words”
  7. Visual Narratives: Storyboards & Comics
  8. Design Fiction & Speculative Scenarios
  9. Sketching with Participants – Generation & Analysis
  10. Accessibility of Sketches
  11. Resources and Tools

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. The CHI 2020 course will have a greater focus on developing core sketching skills and sustaining sketching in HCI on an everyday basis.

Instructors biography

Makayla Lewis is a lecturer in Technology Innovation at Birmingham City University, researching and teaching human factors in business, cybersecurity, smart money, and AI. Makayla is an accomplished visual thinker and sketcher who organizes sketching events and courses and provides visuals for international companies and conferences such as ACM CHI & ISS.

Miriam Sturdee is a research fellow in Creative Practice in Computing at Lancaster University, specialising in investigating how sketching and the arts can support the design and development of novel technology. She also has an MFA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art.

Instructors resources

Makayla Lewis www.makaylalewis.co.uk 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, The Back of the Napkin and The Sketchnote Handbook, Doodle Revolution, Visual Notetaking for Educators, and Visual Thinking: Empowering People & Organizations through Visual Collaboration books, which offer a beginner’s perspective on different sketching approaches.

Course notes will be produced before course and shared. Following the course, a visual summary ‘sketchnotes’  and crib sheet will be produced and shared.

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