Category Archives: User Experience

conference design Learning sketchnotes User Experience

Sketching with the UX crowd

UX Sketchcamp NYC = a mini conference this past fall at NYU Tisch School of the Arts – ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) facilitated by a collaboration of amazing UX professionals. Shout outs to MJ Broadbent (@mjbroadbent), Dean Meyers (@deanmeistr), Jonny Goldstein (@jonnygoldstein), & Marc Niola (@MarcNiola) for designing, facilitating & creating an overall rocking experience. Keep drawing & designing!!

I had a good time sketchnoting at the event. It was hard to choose which workshop to attend as there were so many great options! Sketchnotes and links below…


stick figure people taping index cards to a big piece of mural paper on the wall

The first workshop I attended, Story, was facilitated by Jonny Goldstein. The workshop was a solid combination of learning and experimenting with building & sharing our own stories. There were great mini lessons through out the session, too!


The second workshop I attended was Sketching Across the Design Process with Ray DeLaPena & MJ Broadbent. I love the concept behind this session, essentially they were asking us to consider ‘how’ we use sketching, and making a case that it’s usable in many ways!!!! Specifically, we use sketching differently when thinking, showing & talking… (Again, great group exercises!)

53’s Paper App was up next for showing. The keynote showed off the sexy app and talked about the design process as those at 53 aimed to make an app for the everyman.

What’s Sketchcamp without a bit of comedy? These sketchnotes may seem a bit out there… as Lee Sachs rocked UX Comedy, filling the room with laughter. (Beginning after the keynote.)

Takeaways from the crowd…

Thanks, y’all! A huge shout out to the organizers and presenters!


NYU Program – ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) –

MJ Broadbent –
Dean Meyers –
Jonny Goldstein –
Marc Niola –

Lee Sachs –

53 – Paper


Arts business Education Graphic Facilitation Graphic Recording Language sketchnotes User Experience



There’s a visual revolution going on right now, and there has been for a while. From the traditional fine arts and design to RSAanimate videos and beyond, there are many new fields emerging and thriving in today’s work and business environments. The field of the Visual Practitioner is one of these relatively new and small, but up and coming, fields. Within this field, graphic facilitation, graphic recording and other visual communication methods are prevalent. (More about these via resources below.)

There is an appreciation of using markers and paper, going analog, in this increasingly digital world. No computer key can evoke the same feeling as marker to paper does. My reaction to color and shape drawn by the human next to me on paper is very different than my reaction to something projected digitally. When presented well, both can evoke feelings – but they evoke different feelings. They create engagement in different ways. I don’t want to misrepresent – I love technology and I also think it’s important to use it and teach it responsibly. What technology allows me to see and understand is even more important. Seeing and understanding are human functions, not digital ones.


If you look at the American school system, we begin in Kindergarden teaching with shapes and colors and other fabulously visual techniques that quickly dwindle as the years go on. By the time we are in high school, most if not all colorful or shapely assignments and learning exercises are swept into the art room. I appreciate the art room, it is from those art teachers that I have learned more about life than any other source. (As bold as that statement is, I believe it and stand behind it 100%.) What would happen if we used visual communication tools to teach History, Social Studies or Languages? How to communicate  and how to learn responsibly using visuals – analog and digital – should be considered a staple in our classrooms. It’s imperative, especially now, when we are bombarded with visuals from television, movies and social media.

What would it take for our teachers to begin to teach students how to capture their notes differently – purposefully drawn with shapes and colors? What would that do for the student who has trouble comprehending and trouble paying attention? What would happen when we ask our students to learn while simultaneously creating their own unique understanding of the material? Would it better prepare our students for their future business endeavors?


Here’s a link to the graphic facilitation category of my blog (currently 3 posts) with some definitions (including the difference between graphic facilitation and sketchnoting which sometimes gets confused).

Other links for visual practitioner information include:


NOTE TO SELF (and others)

Yes, I am laughing at the irony of my post – an exposition and suggestion towards using visual communication tools for learning without a visual. Perhaps that will be tomorrows post….


sketchnotes User Experience Visual Thought

NYC UX Bookclub Meeting (Sept 2011)

NYX UX Bookclub Meeting, September 2011

Itching to get out one night, a friend talked me into crashing NYC’s UX BOOKCLUB (@UXBookClubNYC) meeting and I’m glad I did. People in the UX field (short for User Experience) that I have met so far are super friendly and interesting. The vibe, the people, the conversation and even the space seduced me into smiling all night long, with a few belly laughs intermixed. The book on the table was Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen P Anderson – a provocative read. The session began with mingling, discussions about the book ensued, followed by the author joining via Skype. Typical me, I was sketchnoting…


I visually captured the Bookclub Meeting discussion and the author’s Skype session. One correction I have for the sketchnotes below: the event was actually at Projective SpaceWanderfly is one company of many that works in this space. (I apparently only read part of the writing on the wall. Whoops.)

Stephen Anderson joined us by page 3 of my capture. He began by giving us the story of the book and how it came to be, and then answered questions. I’d love to hear what you think. Enjoy!

VISUAL CAPTURE from the NYC UX Bookclub Sept 2011


One of the highlights for me: as the group began talking about the book, everyone reached into their bags searching for their copy. A Kindle emerged, an iPad or 2, another electronic reader and a few clunky books themselves. The group laughed and quickly discovered that the reader experience was quite different based on the mode of reading. This seemed to effect the reader for different reasons – some had no idea how far into the book they actually were while others saw all pictures in black and white without styling that existed in other versions, etc. Bottom line was that this not only effected the way that some read the book, but also created influence over opinions. What a ‘meta’ concept… in a UX group. Ha!

BACK to BASICS – Definitions & resources are always good… (especially for those of us who are new to the UX field). The following is my super basic understanding as I’ve collected…

“User experience (UX) is about how a person feels about using a productsystem or service. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership, but it also includes a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system. User experience is subjective in nature, because it is about an individual’s feelings and thoughts about the system. User experience is dynamic, because it changes over time as the circumstances change.” – Via Wikipedia

UX Design is a growing field where people in roles (such as Information Architect, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, Usability Analyst, and User Researcher, etc) do their best to understand the relationship and communication between the human and computer. Their common goal is generally to create the best possible experience for the human using the program, website, software (or digital product)…. There is certainly something to this. As a user I find myself making conscious and subconscious decisions & judgements about my experiences with different websites and software programs. Sometimes I naturally understand while other times I have to work really hard to understand a basic concept. (I either end up cursing at my computer, or reciting ‘I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.’ Wayne’s World style.) When something works really well, chances are that one of these folks worked hard to perfect that experience.

Basic UX resources in the field include:

IXDA (Interaction Design Association) – find your local chapter for events, etc (NYC)

UPA (Usability Professionals Association) – find your local chapter for events, etc (NYC)

There are often MeetUp groups as well such as the Agile UX Meetup in NYC.

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