3. IDEATE – Brainstorming + Initial Sketches

3In his Lynda video, Nodder shares the analog that finding the best ideas is like climbing a mountain, you don’t know which one is highest until you explore.

Ideation is a technique that lets you explore lots of different design ideas early in a short amount of time, with a team have diverse background. Ideation is an important step of the design process as it allowed us to come up with creative ideas for design solutions without having to consider the existing solution or constraints.

Local Maximum Trap

Chris Nodder talk’s about ideation as a method for avoiding the local maximum trap. Essentially, before we go ahead with one design solution and become too invested in it we needed to explore other possibilities to ensure that we have come up with the best possible solution for our users needs.

Screenshot 2017-02-04 09.38.24.png

In his Lynda video, Nodder shares the analog that finding the best ideas is like climbing a mountain, you don’t know which one is highest untill you explore.

Diverging ideas with Crazy 8’s

We used technique that I came across in the Google Design book Sprint. Crazy 8’s is fast-paced high output exercise. The premise of Crazy 8’s is simple: eight minutes for each person to come up with eight different variations of the same thing.  


We carried out a crazy 8’s we wanted to explore a more creative solution for displaying the date  and time fields on our prototype. When the eight minutes were up, we  each explained our thoughts behind each solution. We voted on the solutions we wanted to see sketched out prototyped further. We did this be using some coloured stickers in silence

Breaking up the work and sketching individually.

For the purpose of working fast, our approach was to split the entire user journey of booking a ticket into three. The work was carried out as follows:

Section Owner
Header Rachael
Homepage Rachael
Search Results Ray
Seat Selection Alan
Payment Page Alan
Confirmation Page Ray

Overall we found this to be a good way to work, especially in the very early stages when there was a lot to cover.

Initial Sketches

Header + Homepage

Initial Sketches014.jpg

Search Results

Seat Selection

Seat Selection.jpg

Payment Page

Confirmation Page

Billing Details and Booking Confirmation.jpg

Bringing it altogether with sketch boards

The intended purpose of a sketch board is to help you think across the broader design of the system Buley, L. (2013).  We use sketchboarding in our first brainstorming session to help us to pull together some initial sketches that we did individually of the sections of flow that we were responsible for.


As a team we sketched out each stage in the user journey and combined the best bits of the ideas we came up with individually.

Consolidating our flow with a user flow map

After we completed the sketch board of the entire user flow we thought it would be useful to document how the flow would look at a very high level. We did by simply, listing out each step in the journey, outlined where steps where required our that could be skipped at the user’s leisure


Our first draft of our user flow, created during our brainstorming session in Rachael’s house

User flows created by Alan show how we simplify the user journey by reducing steps in the process.

In the next post

In the next post you will hear about how we went from sketches to initial prototype, the design decisions made along the way  and reasons for using particular tooling.


  1. Buley, L. (2013). The user experience team of one: a research and design survival guide. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media.
  2. Knapp, J., Zeratsky, J., & Kowitz, B. (2016). Sprint: how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  3. Nodder, C. (2014). UX Design Techniques: Ideation. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Web-Prototyping-tutorials/