by Steven

UX work can get weighed down with process and documentation. 

Most of my best thinking comes when sitting quietly with a note book and pencil and just doodling or sketching out problems and solutions. But that can get untidy, and the one sketch you want in a meeting is probably the one that got scrunched up under your coffee cup last week.

The iPad Pro makes things much better. Using an Apple Pencil, I now sketch ideas out on my iPad Pro using the Notability app, which lets me draw and type naturally. 

The iOS split-screen feature means I can have an Axure prototype open on one side, while I sketch on the other. I can update the prototype on my laptop and have the output refresh on my iPad.

If I plug the iPad into a projector, I can do Axure walk-throughs with users or stakeholders, and use the Notability window alongside it as something like a whiteboard, were we can scribble comments and ideas on the fly. 

For guerilla testing, it’s perfect.

It’s a great way to work, with the immediacy and tactility of paper, but with the advantage of ideas and comments being instantly available to share in a digital format. As a bonus, all my doodles get nicely filed, instead of gradually cluttering up my desk and ultimately becoming lost, forgotten or binned. 

I can send sketchy wireframes straight to designers as PDFs, skipping the time consuming task of re-working paper sketches in a tool like OmniGraffle.

It makes for a light and natural UX process, and helps keep things lively and fun.

And here’s a tip if you’re thinking of using your iPad as a sketchbook: a matt/anti-glare screen cover creates just the right amount of friction to make it feel more like you’re writing on paper than glass.

Here’s how my iPad looks in split-screen with Notability on the left and an Axure prototype on the right:

Notability on the left; Axure prototype on the right

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