Design Principles: Why use paper and pencil or similar on slate

You all start coding, I’ll go find out what they want

Why all of this drawing and talking about what the design is going to look like?  What are we doing here?

First of all, design has to start someplace, here the caption could be:

You all start coding, I’ll go find out what they want.

When we start with a “design” tool, the low cost work, stays low cost.  A project at the design phase is running at a very low cost, changes can be made quickly and with little impact.  But, if you start coding too early, then like that carpenter who started the foundation without the survey, the work and materials will be wasted.  With software, we don’t have to buy things like our carpenter, we can just start downloading and start DOING something.  A good work ethic is one that starts with good directions for most of us, and usually a shorter work week.

Oh sure, just how do I share that paper and pencil draft?

You can take a picture of the paper and pencil with your phone and then share it out.  Or you can scan it.  This is good for people to see it, but how do you get feedback from people who might not be in the room with the Whiteboard (or Blackboard if you like chalk dust, which at some schools still are present).

Another way is to use OneNote with pen input on your Windows 8 slate or surface device.  OneNote 2013 is pretty impressive to work with and I use it all of the time. 

What does it look like, is it hard to use?  OneNote is one of the best kept secrets of Office 2013.  Many people say that you have to use pen input to make it really work.  Not true, in fact I use it much more on my laptop then on my tablet.  There are only one time that the Tablet is better to use: Pen Input, drawing out ideas and like that.  Keep in mind that the search feature can search through your block script or cursive writing (not sure about languages other then English, let me know).

So my OneNote initial document might look like, nothing that is going to hang in a gallery, oh wait, it could…

As you can see, there is a lot more work to do, but ideas are written and now they can be acted on.


What is my action?

Get out some paper, download OneNote on your computer, and start doing some thinking with paper and pencil.

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