At The National Archives we work on a principle of user-centred design for our digital services. You may have read some blog posts recently about the different ways we do this by myself and my colleagues Emma and Maria. The principle is that the needs of the user are at the heart of the design process.
One of the most integral parts of user-centred design, is the design itself. You may think this is all complex coding, HTML and CSS for the techies to tackle. This isn’t always the case; a great way to solve problems and generate new ideas through design can be to bring it back to basics with the trusty felt-tip pen and paper. Technically called ‘lo-fi prototyping’ (and actually called drawing!), sketching out basic ideas is a fantastically simple and quick way to communicate new ideas with people (whilst at the same time being fun). A lot of time and effort goes into the design of our digital services, so from a designer’s point of view there is nothing worse than working on a clickable, fully designed prototype – only to be told by the likes of me that it doesn’t meet the requirements of our users.