30 Day Sketching Challenge - Day 7 - Flow Patterns & Micro Interactions

That focus of my sketches today is flow patterns and micro interactions. These are just a subset of the full pattern library. Sketching all these patterns helped me understand how to quickly sketch ui elements. Using color to highlight key areas of the pattern is something I have been wanting to try out. Even though my hand is really tired right now from sketching this was definitely a fun exercise for me since I learned a lot.


30 Day Sketching Challenge - Day 2 - Smartwatches and People***

Yes!!! I made it to day 2 of my 30 day challenge. I was inspired to draw smartwatches this morning since I recently sketched smartphones. I thought it would be good to practice the figures I sketched on day one.

*Either I didn't sketch enough smartwatches or I just didn't have enough coffee since I titled the page wrong. 😀

Smartwatches and People  

Smartwatches and People  

30 Day Sketching Challenge - Day 1 - People with Emotions

Let the challenge begin! The subject of today's focus is sketching People with emotions. My peeps will help me get my ideas and messages across. There are many areas that need to be focused on such as conveying where the person is looking, their movements and any supporting icons. Looks like I will need to spend a few days working on them.

People with emotions 

People with emotions 

Sketch Resources

Sketch is a great design tool. It reduces my cognitive load while designing and helps me save valuable time, work fast and accurately. Here are some of the Sketch plugins/templates that make Sketch the awesomest! 

Sketch Plugins

Sketch Toolbox
Your one-stop shop for all Sketch plugins. All you have to do is click install and you are ready to go. A word of warning though. You really don't need ALL the plugins all the time. 

Content Generator Plugin
This is a great plugin I use for almost all my projects. You can fill text areas with lorem ipsum, generate profile pics and create user names quickly.

Sketch Notebook
Want to add notes to your Sketch designs? Then this tool is for you. You can hide the notes and continue working on your designs. Once you are ready to send the designs over you can unhide the notes. 

Sketch Measure
Yes there will inevitably come a time where you will need to hand over the designs to developers.  With this plugin you can quickly add measurements such as distance, coordinates, properties

I will be adding more resources to this list so stay tuned for more!


How do I love thee Sketch? Let me count the ways.

A tool is a tool is a tool.

Sketch is a great tool. It has helped me speed up my design workflow tremendously.

Here are some of the things I love about Sketch.

  1. Style library
  2. Symbol library
  3. Non-destructive path editing (Boolean Operations)
  4. Ease of slicing
  5. Ease of exporting different formats and sizes (.svg, .png, .pdf, @2x, @3x)
  6. Smart guides
    1. Measuring distances between objects. (Personal favorite)
    2. Guides show up when an object is equal distance or has same width as other objects that are close by.
  7. Custom plugins
  8. Text box sizing (Automatic and Fixed)
  9. Size hinting within vertical and horizontal rulers
  10. Artboards
    1. Duplicating artboards
    2. Resizing artboards
    3. Each artboard has it's own coordinates
    4. Each artboard has it's own guides
    5. Duplicating artboards with locked layers? Not to worry. They get duplicated too!

I am sure there are many more but these are the ones that come to mind.

Sketch isn't perfect by any means either. It has its limits, quirks and WTF's. Overall for being a product in it's infancy I think Bohemian Coding has done a great job in saving us from the clutches of that other company that has us locked in to monthly serfdom fee ;)

Got Sketch tips you want to share? Hit me up on Twitter.

Charlie's Cheap Therapy - Improv To The Rescue!

Being and introvert I am always looking for ways to improve my public speaking skills. Whether it is client presentation, a lunch presentation at work, or even communicating my ideas clearly to team members I want to make all my communication effective. Sandra Niehaus, the Creative Director at Closed Loop had suggested to our UX team that we try out Improv classes to help with our presentation/communication skills.  One of the classes she suggested was Charlie's Cheap Therapy in Sacramento which I decided to try out.  

The improv class was great. We played a lot of different games. There were many times I froze up but continued the scenes. Even though I have only taken one class I am already thinking ways to improve my performance and I am excited about continuing taking these classes.

You should definitely try out an improv class. It is fun and educational at the same time.


Design Presentations Are Fun!

During my journey as a UX Designer at Closed Loop, I have learned many things for which I am extremely grateful for. A skill I needed to tackle was presenting to clients. This was a gray area for me.

This is how it usually went:

  1. Feeling of dread would encompass me as the meeting time drew closer and closer.
  2. Profuse sweating would ensue as the meeting started.
  3. My heart rate would sky rocket.
  4. I would speed through the presentation and skip over things I really wanted to talk about.
  5. My throat would dry up like the Sahara desert forcing me to drink a gallon of water during the meeting.
  6. Rinse, Lather and Repeat.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
bright (bright) sunshiny day.

- Jimmy Cliff

That was before until a friend and project manager extraordinaire @AmyKapell suggested I use a framework for organizing my presentations. She suggested I write down my thoughts in a structured way just like research papers.

The structure looks like this:

  1. Provide a brief overview of what I will cover during my presentation.
  2. Inform the client what type of feedback we are looking for and when to provide it (during or after the design presentation)
  3. Review the designs. 
  4. Summarize the presentation.
  5. Gather feedback.

I have used this structure for a few presentations already which caused me to exclaim, " I can't wait to give my next presentation!". Now the gray cloud of doubt has gone away and I can see clearly now. 

Bring on the next design presentation!