This week I am in Lisbon, for Websummit. I am testing out new formats for my sketchnotes, one is a paper format which is easy to do standing up in a crowd and the other the iPad Pro. I want to use this opportunity to play around with the iPad format, and test out different apps. A review of these apps AND my wish for the ideal sketchnote app will come online later.
To be honest I have not have time to review my notes from this conference yet and a lot of my notes needs work done and cleanup before I can post them. Perhaps during my next holiday or if there is a special insterest in it, I will post the notes, along with a summary of the conference highlights.
Sorry about the silence here on the blog – I started a fulltime job at an IT consultancy and all the work I do there is confidential, which makes me unable to share my daily sketches. I CAN share what I have learned about visual meeting notes though!
During some phases in our process, we have a lot of meetings. I don’t know about you, but my mind goes blank after 5 minutes in meetings unless I actively focus to keep my concentration – and this is where visual notes are amazing!
They make me listen actively – I find out what I do not understand much Quicker!
I can refer back to my notes later
I get to practice my live sketching in general (practice, practice, practice)
They are fun to do!
After I participated in the same type of meeting several times, I started noticing I could benefit from a certain structure. Since I cannot show you the actual notes as examples, I will have to recreate the same layout types with fake content.
I am looking very much forward to sharing a couple of my go-to meeting layouts and tricks for easy meeting notes with you!
Todays speaker at the Preely meetup was Marie Køhnke, previously from In2Media and now freelancing. The key take away from the talk titled “Client do you actually want UX” was that UX’ers should not be afraid of posing big questions. According to her there are 7 things to consider if you want to have UX (see the circles on the left page). The case she used as an example was about innovating on how to change digital letters/digital communication from the government.
Reflection on my sketchnoting process today
Practicing my speed, I strive to be finished with the outlining + make grey shadows + colored border + take nice images at the events themselves. Sometimes I am still not quick enough though. Especially if I also spend time networking, which is still one of the main reasons why I go to these events in the first place.
As seen on the coverimage, the right image shows the slideshow of how Marie presented her 7 key points. I made them visual in my sketchnote, wanting to really remember them for later. Marie went over the 7 points rather quickly, and I spend a few extra seconds of thinking time boiling each point down to a bulletpoint understanding while she talked. As seen by the cover image I was not able to finish this part of the sketchnote live during the talk this time.
I admit that sometimes I still rely on my blue mechanical pencil for layouting, partly because I think better when it feels more like a sketch than a drawing. Although the “prettyness” of my sketchnotes is not my main priority at all, I still am a designer who loves whitespace. Getting whitespace and clustering successfully is much easier when I have a few blue lines to guide me. Sometimes more than a few. Sometimes I have to force myself to put down the pencil and only use the black outliner pen. Without the pencil for sketching, it sometimes still comes down to luck for me when I choose a layout. Practice, practice, practice will help.
What can I do to get better?
Practice doing different layouts for the same ted talk perhaps, and practice listening for clues to where the talk is going to go. My favourite talks take me by the hand and say what they will cover in the beginning. Makes my job much easier, when I have to fill out a spread in a sketchbook. If I use another format like a roll of paper, it is an entirely different process that I also want to practice.
To sum up I plan to practice:
Not using my mechanical pencil at all
Doing the same talk in different layouts (perhaps digitally?)
Creating the cards itself started as a practice exercise for expanding my symbolic visual vocabulary, and thus also functions as an external visual library. A deck of icon cards can be used in varying ways, and this set of cards was created in order to function as an icebreaker exercise for a workshop.
Icebreaker exercise with icon cards
Participants were asked to choose the icons they found most represented the answer to specific questions. Thus we got the participant to start thinking about the topic for the workshop before the agenda was even presented. The icons on this deck of cards may seem random, but are chosen because they have different typical symbolic meanings attached to them. Asking the participants to choose two or more cards, created a dynamic between the cards that further makes the participant think creatively. It is important to get the participants to explain with their own words why they have chosen their cards.
This post is the masterlist of my growing physical design tool collection, which I will go back an edit as I acquire new tools. At the moment my wishlist is longer than my collection. If you want to sponsor a tool, contact me. Eventually I will indicate how often I use each of these and categorize them. Reviews will follow for each of the tools as I get a chance to properly test them.
I am not a student anymore. Yesterday I defended my thesis project on co-creation workshops, and I now have a Masters Digital Design and Communication from the IT university of Copenhagen. It has been a long road, with a lot of research and observations. Some of the information from the thesis is confidential, and thus I cannot share the thesis itself. I am planning on publishing the relevant findings alongside the workshop canvas I have created. Right now it is still a prototype, and I plan to launch it as a tool in Spring 2018. If anyone reading this will give me access to observe more workshop, especially co-design workshops, I would greatly appreciate it.
The following is a visual representation of my thesis process.
As a student I need to keep the cost down, so at the moment I use black notebooks from Flying Tiger. They have nice paper and nice sizes, for a quarter of the price of a Moleskin sketchbook.
The one I bring everywhere I go: My visual journal. It is small enough to fit in my smallest everydaypurse, and there is room for my businesscards as well in a pocket. The downside of this journal is that it has thinner pages than the others, too thing for my needs, so I need to skip every other page. This I sometimes switch to a moleskin of the same size – when I spoil myself.
The one I bring to social events and general travelling: My travelbook, small square sketchbook. (As seen on the above picture)
The one I bring to conferences and when I know I will be sketchnoting live: The Big Square sketchbook I take with me when I know I am going to an event where I will sketchnote, double the size of the small travelbook.