Design of things UI

I love designing and making things but have always felt a little let down by my organisation in certain design processes. Databases and code I’m totally down with and have no problems. I’m also adept at sketching wireframes and layouts of straightline 3D objects like bookshelves and cabinets. I can think pretty clearly in 3D space and in non-visual virtual flows like in software processes. What I always seem to struggle with is UI design or the design process. I know a lot about usability and what works but when it comes to being able to put together a whole front end it’s too big for my head and too complex for my current processes. So I’m searching for new processes.

What came to mind was PhotoShop. I’ve always put off owning PhotoShop because I’m a programmer not a designer. However I’ve come to realise that I’m not just a programmer and that I enjoy complete software and hardware lifecycles. So why not get it?

Well for one it’s very expensive so I need to prove that it’s going to be useful to me and my business and not just a large waste of money. So I set about searching for guidelines on the sort of things I wanted to design. Mostly web UIs and iPhone/Android UIs. My Googling led me to this page about designing iPhone interfaces with woodforms, ink and paper, beautiful! This is very much how I’d like to be able to work and then jumping into PhotoShop for final products if needed. Check out the two fullsize images, they really are quite inspiring for their simplicity, accuracy and skill.

Intrigued by what these pens were that could allow the watercolour style sketching without the need for a set of water colours and brushes (they don’t mix well with keyboards) I searched for the text on top of one of the pens “W0 warm grey”. Turns out they’re Copic markers and expensive. About NZ$10 each so for a set, you’re looking in the hundreds of dollars. Exciting though, I love the idea of designing software on paper and that’s how I do all of my database designs. Now I’d like to take that to the UI paradigm.

A set of Copic markers like these are about NZ$650

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