How Twitter Still Found Paper Useful

We live in a digital era, but pen-and-paper still has its place. Twitter recently redesigned its mobile browser client for basic feature phones, but for creating mock-ups, its team still found drawing things on paper more useful to start the process than any form of digital tool.

In a blog post outlining the redesign process, Twitter notes the role that paper prototypes played:

We began the process by sketching out proposals for primary views and navigation. Next, we fleshed out details like the Tweet anatomy and interaction flows for tasks like tweeting, searching, and writing direct messages.

After that initial stage, Twitter's engineers concentrated on building actual code that could be tested on devices. But starting with a simple sketch made more sense than diving right into a web editor or layout designer. It's something to bear in mind any time you're starting on a design project.

Overhauling from the ground up [Twitter Blog]


    To be honest i don't think you can beat pen and paper for design, i even use pen and paper when writing my blogs. I think i feel like it seems to get your creative juices flowing a lot better when you use a pen instead of a mouse and keyboard.

    That looks a little like Balsamiq to me. The advantage of using pen and paper is that it's quick. Gui mock-up tools on the other hand can actually output usable code when you're happy with it. "Wireframe" gui tools like the aforementioned Balsamiq (and droiddraw) quite intentionally don't look too polished. Many marketing and non-IT people don't understand that a GUI mockup still needs all the logic code put in behind it. They see a GUI and assume the software is written.

    This will likely be the case for a while until tablets start getting GOOD stylus inputs and GOOD reaction times.

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