When I first started exploring web design and journalism nearly 10 years ago I thought paper prototyping was silly. Paper…really? Web design was beyond paper, I scoffed. I used the cutting-edge design tools like Photoshop 5 that actually let me edit text on the page (a huge upgrade from Photoshop 4 that featured a quaint-but-clunky text editing panel).
Who needs paper when you can push pixels on the screen, right?
Well, it took a few years to sink in, but I have since changed my mind. I rediscovered paper several years ago and now find it much easier to sketch concepts and ideas in a notebook. Nothing beats paper for speed. I can flip open a notebook and jot down an idea much faster than using a computer or PDA.
Don’t get me wrong, I love computers and gadgets as much as (if not more than) the next guy. But paper still rules the initial stages of design for me.
Why do I bring this up? I found some great early-stage paper prototypes on Flickr recently. You will probably recognize a few of them. Several of them are now extremely popular, with millions of users each month.
For me, seeing these sketches is like seeing the notes of a mad scientist after he’s built a giant robot or a glimpse into a wizard’s magical tome. They probably didn’t realize these hand-scrawled sketches would eventually turn out to be blueprints for success. Hope you enjoy them.
Photo of Jack Dorsey’s original sketches of Twitter (Stat.us).
Dan Catt’s original sketches of Flickr Places.
Sockyung Hong’s sketch for Vimeo profile pages.
Beth Goldman’s sketches of several Quicken screens.