Within half an hour exercise, we had the task to individually come up with a non-text and non-verbal search interface.

The exercise was rather inexplicit, so our class generated lots of interesting ideas.The exercise started with a pen-and-paper draft, mainly serving as the idea generation. I’ve created 6 different concepts for the idea of search engine, using pictures, touch, drawing tools, sound, camera etc. Then I had integrated a few ideas together and refined them one by one. My 3rd iteration was focused on a touch interface with drag and drop pictorial interface as can be seen in the image above. Here was some of the initial sketches I had:

Non-text search interface idea generation

This was my first paper into brainstorming the interface. After 3 iteration on paper, we were given the task to recreate our best concept on digital platform. We engaged Balsamiq as the wireframing tool used for digitising the sketch.

Balsamiq has an unique skeuomorphic interface that mimics the pencil drawings on paper. We have learned that this signifies the fact that the concept was not final. If the initial concept looks polished, that supersedes the end result expectation and will complicate delivery process, since sometimes initial design can not match the outcome. If the client sees a well-polished initial design, they will be more likely to expect the product to match that exactly. Hence, the pencil sketching interface creates a better indication of a work in progress.

We were not judged for our creations, but it was a good glimpse into the process of generating new ideas for a digital project.