A recent comment led me to Sketchcast.com, a tool that allows you to draw and record what you’re drawing, with the idea that the visualizations can help you communicate your ideas.
As a designer who is always open to new methods of visualization and communication of ideas, I set up an account and created the following, based on a diagram from How Designers Think.
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://sketchcast.com/swf/player.swf?id=Q6wtDkt” height=”350″ width=”425″ fversion=”8″ play=”false” fvars=” play = false ” /]
Pretty neat, eh?
As you noticed, it was difficult to keep my lines straight. While this is due to the mouse being a less than ideal drawing tool, it detracts from the effectiveness of the resulting visualization.
But why wouldn’t I just create a static image to show the result?
Also, since this is essentially a virtual whiteboard, I asked myself why do we use whiteboards? How important it is during design sessions that the participants see the person perform the task of creating the visualization? Or is using a whiteboard about collaboration, rapid visualization, and iteration? I suspect it’s a combination. Watching someone draw does help everyone else see and understand their thought process. But can this work online where the thought process of what is being drawn is already contrived?
Granted, I did not take advantage of the sound recording aspect of Sketchcast. So perhaps if I were explaining something and drawing at the same time, the tool would be more useful.
While it has problems, it’s a notable effort. Makes me wonder if there are any collaborative online whiteboards that let remote groups create ad hoc visualizations and notes. It would be great to record the iterative process and use colors for each participant. Perhaps a such a whiteboard could also address the issue of one person controlling the board.