As part of my Design Computing class, I am introducing my students to video sketching as a prototyping tool. For most of the students, this is new, but something they will end up doing repeatedly throughout their time at the School of Design.

Today, John Zimmerman gave a guest lecture on video sketching, complete with successful and not so successful examples, to kick-start the project. Zimmerman first introduced the method to me and my classmates last year during Interaction and Visual Interface Design.

With each video sketch that I have created during my time at school, the process have been refined and the result has improved. My first video sketch I don’t even show to employers because I find it embarrassing, which is why I think this project is important for my students. It’s an opportunity to get their feet wet and learn some lessons before creating something that they will want in their portfolio.

But I didn’t just create this assignment so that they could survive design school and have nice portfolio pieces, video sketches are indeed a good prototyping tool. Whether you are communicating an idea internally or to a client, it’s an effective means to quickly prototype an experience and discover or plug holes in your concepts. Invariably as you begin to tell the story of a product or service in use, and think about the images and sounds that go along with that, you discover issues that the design team had not fully considered during the concept stage.

Video sketches aren’t just for design school either. Many companies use them in the same way we do. In fact, the Charmr project I worked on at Adaptive Path this summer culminated in a video sketch.