E-sketching for Interaction Prototyping at UX London

E-Sketching is a tool for conveying and capturing the right level of information as quickly as possible. When designing for interactive systems that have both a physical and a digital component there is great value in bringing sketching off of the notepad and realising certain aspects of the interaction in rough form early and often.

In this 3-hour workshop, held during the UX London 2014 conference,  participants with varying levels of familiarity with electronics were introduced to a set of Arduino-based tools. They were then  challenged to invent and prototype a product experience that incorporated a variety of physical interactions. In the workshop, Smart Design’s Junior Castro and I introduced participants to the basics of Arduino, and then quickly moved into demonstrations of a range of sensors. With some quick foam core and cardboard mockups, we showed how tilt switches, light sensors, accelerometers and temperature sensors can be used to help medication compliance.

Since UX designers value being able to visualize data, we linked our Arduino demos to Processing, a programming language that allows people to quickly create dynamic on-screen graphics. Once the demonstrations were done, participants worked as teams and it was their turn to get creative with foam core, sensors and code. The teams worked remarkably well together, and the energy in the room was awesome. Picking from a range of suggested subject areas, teams created working demos of:

-Temperature monitoring for accurate egg boiling
-An anti-snoring system
-Tracking seat usage on public transportation
-A warning system to let you know when you’ve left the refrigerator door open
…and an applause-o-meter to visualize how much participants enjoyed the workshop