A List Apart

Menu
Issue № 322

Respect the doodle. Use visual thinking to create and share ideas.

Sketching: the Visual Thinking Power Tool

by Mike Rohde · 33 Comments

You don’t have to be a great singer to write a great song, just ask Bob Dylan. Likewise, you needn’t be a Leonardo to draw your way to more and better ideas. Sketching helps you generate concepts quickly, exploring alternatives rapidly and at no cost of resources. The looseness of a sketch removes inhibitions, granting clients and colleagues permission to consider and challenge the ideas it represents. Mike Rohde outlines the practice, surveys the tools, and shares ways to become confident with this method of brainstorming, regardless of your level of artistic ability.

The Miseducation of the Doodle

by Sunni Brown · 24 Comments

The teacher who chastised you for “mindless doodling” was wrong on both counts. Far from shutting down the mind, the act of doodling engages the brain in the kind of visual sense-making people have practiced for over 30,000 years. Doodling sharpens concentration, increases retention, and enhances access to the problem solving unconscious. It activates the portions of the visual cortex that allow us to see mental imagery and manipulate concepts, and unifies three major learning modalities, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Doodle Revolution leader Sunni Brown introduces strategic doodling and presents the ABCs of our shared visual alphabet.

More from A List Apart

Columnists

Ask Dr. Web with Jeffrey Zeldman

If Ever I Should Leave You: Job Hunting For Web Designers and Developers

At the start of your career, you’re excited to have any job—but at some point you wonder if there’s a better job out there for you. Is it youthful restlessness, or are you learning to recognize the warning signs of career stagnation? There’s no sure-fire way to tell—but if you’ve stopped growing or feeling any passion for the work, it’s probably time to let go. So how do you find a better job without making it worse with your current colleagues and in your bank account? Jeffrey Zeldman has some tried-and-true tips to make your transitions smoother.

From the Blog

Developing Empathy

Everyone talks a lot about empathy, but distilling that theory-driven talk into practices for our day-to-day work can seem daunting. Susan Robertson shows how she's been able to practice empathy for users as a developer.

On Our Radar: Four-and-a-Horse Stars

This week's recommended reading list has bad news for icon fonts: we learn from Seren Davies' presentation that they present accessibility issues for people with dyslexia. Plus: our favorite tech TinyLetter, the NYSE computer glitch, an animal gif, and more.