Pencils vs. Pixels for UI Protyping and Sketching

High fidelity versus low fidelity as U.S. professionals were often required to do a little bit of both in our day to day work, from pixel perfect mockups to basic sketches on paper. We asked some of our UX conference attendees when they feel its most valuable to use pixels versus pencils.

I love to do pencils when we’re just ideating out ideas and we’re in a meeting and we’re not sure about something, we just go straight to the whiteboard or whatever it is and sketch out thoughts and ideas and it’s quick and we can bounce off and bounce ideas around.

And so I kind of do both at the same time if I need to do something on the screen. I also did a paper at the same time, like thinking on paper, doing it at the screen, a combination of both all the time, whiteboard pens count.

I mix it up. So definitely pencils first. So I have a big sketchbook. I’ll usually get some stuff out on there or will or the whiteboard depending on on the day how much time I want to spend on it. But then I’ll then I’ll usually translate that into pixels. It saves a lot of time.

I’m definitely partial to pencils for sure. I find that it’s so much easier to organize my thoughts and then not only mine, but if I’m doing infinity mapping or something with the team, it’s so much easier for us to just get all of our thoughts out on paper, little post-it notes, then we can organize them better. So that’s definitely the way that I would go.

If I’m not sure about something or I’ve got multiple ideas, I go for the pencil because it’s quicker and I can erase if I need to quicker that I can go go through different options that I’m being barraged with in my with my imagination.

Low fidelity, I think, is where the creativity comes in, where you’re trying different approaches and rapidly changing them to see what’s going to fly.

I prefer high fidelity. There’s a tradeoff between time, right, and what I get out of it. But I find that because I’m a designer, stakeholders team seem to respond much better to high fidelity materials. It gives them a better vision. As far as pencil versus pixel. I guess the general is when I’m working with people, pencil teams to be better because I feel like people are more visual and when they have something in their hand, they’re much more likely to be engaged than one. And they’re on their laptop looking at something I’m trying to show them and explaining it to them.

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