electric beach

Christian Schormann

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend

Shown for the first time publicly today at Mix 2009 in Las Vegas, SketchFlow is a fun, informal, flexible, quick and powerful way to sketch and prototype rich, dynamic interactivity with Expression Blend.

SketchFlow3Small

SketchFlow is part of Expression Blend – for more info see this post.

I am very excited about SketchFlow, and If you are at Mix, we’d love to see you in one or all of the scheduled sessions on Expression Blend:

  • Mini-Session: Creating Interactivity with Microsoft Expression Blend, held by Pete Blois, Wed, 2:15-2:35pm 
  • Mini-Session: Integrating Microsoft Expression Blend with Adobe Creative Suite, held by Joanna Mason, Wed, 2:40-3:00pm
  • The Future of Microsoft Expression Blend, held by Doug Olson and me, Thu, 10:30-11:45am
  • From Concept to Production: Prototyping with Expression Blend & SketchFlow, Thu, 2:30-3:45pm 

If you get to see a demo, please drop me a line with your feedback. I’d love to hear from you.

Design, Sketches & Prototypes

It is almost a truism that great design is an important factor for great products.

Throughout the software industry, we historically have not spent much effort on the earlier stages of design. This lack of upfront investment in design often leads to increased cost due to a need for expensive rework at a later stage and to products that may not satisfy our customers.

Great design for software needs a great design process, and ways to make the exploration, communication and evaluation of interaction and design fast and effective are an important part of great process.

Sketching, and, at a slightly later stage of the design process, prototyping, are wonderful techniques to explore a multitude of ideas quickly, without excessive investment and emotional attachment. My colleague Bill Buxton has written a wonderful book on this that I strongly recommend reading: “Sketching User Experiences”, published by Morgan Kaufmann.

Software interaction is highly dynamic, and over the last years we have consistently have pushed more in the direction of rich, dynamic visuals and interaction methods. Expectations have risen greatly. However, it is far from easy to create meaningful design studies and sketches of dynamic interactivity entirely with traditional tools. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that most design tools have been created as production tools, focused on the creation of final production assets, where precision, quality and finish matter. Another reason is that most tools still treat UI as something that is just a small derivation from an otherwise static comp.

SketchFlow

The mission of the Expression team is to help designers to create great user experiences. We believe that this mission needs to begin with the early exploration phases of design. SketchFlow, as presented today for the first time in public during the Mix 2009 keynote, is our first step in this direction.

SketchFlow is a new set of tools for Expression Blend to create sketches and prototypes of interactive content and applications, giving Blend a new role in pre-production and design phases of the development process.

SketchFlowAutoHideSmall

SketchFlow is informal and quick, enabling you to sketch out plentiful ideas for dynamic interactions in a cost effective manner. SketchFlow also supports the evolution of your rough sketches into living and breathing prototypes that can be as real as you need them to be.

SketchFlow PlayerSmall

SketchFlow addresses three pain points in software sketching and prototyping:

  • It makes it easier to experiment with ideas for dynamic user interaction.
  • It facilitates communication of design ideas and intent between designers and other stakeholders.
  • It makes it easier to gather, evaluate and use stakeholder feedback on design ideas.

SketchFlow also integrates well into a design-centric workflow. Last, but not least, there is a lot of new functionality in Blend 3 that greatly empowers prototyping.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon to your friendly electricbeach neighborhood blog.

posted by cs at 00:00  

54 Comments

  1. [...] Christian Schormann has written a nice article on SketchFlow, so be sure to check it out at the following link: http://electricbeach.org/?p=145 [...]

    Pingback by Expression Blend and Design : A Look at SketchFlow — March 18, 2009 @ 10:39

  2. [...] SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend [...]

    Pingback by Exciting Blend 3 announcements from Mix09 – SketchFlow, XAML intellisense, etc… - Rob Relyea - XAMLified — March 18, 2009 @ 12:17

  3. [...] experience, going from conceptual models to interactivity to finalized applications. Check out Christian Schorman’s blog post about this feature. Also worth mentioning: coding C# or VB is now possible within Blend [...]

    Pingback by Katrien's MSDN Blog : MIX09 Day 1 Announcements (Silverlight 3, Expression Blend Sketchflow, SuperPreview) — March 18, 2009 @ 12:35

  4. [...] For a more comprehensive guide to SketchFlow, you’ll want to check out Christian Schormann’s blog posting on this technology. [...]

    Pingback by Tim Sneath : MIX09 Day 1 Keynote Pt 2: Scott Guthrie on Advancing User Experiences — March 18, 2009 @ 13:16

  5. [...] SketchFlow in Blend 3 [...]

    Pingback by Nigel Parker's Outside Line : MIX09 Day 1 Keynote — March 18, 2009 @ 14:08

  6. [...] Christian Schormann already wrote a great article on SketchFlow: Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend [...]

    Pingback by Swiss MSDN Team Blog : News from Mix 2009 – Day 1 — March 18, 2009 @ 22:21

  7. [...] However one of the biggest announcements was sketch flow. Very rarely do I see a product that I think can truly change the way we work, but sketch flow + [...]

    Pingback by Michael Wolf — March 19, 2009 @ 02:15

  8. Hope to see a new video showing all the features!
    ..Ben

    Comment by BenHayat — March 19, 2009 @ 03:22

  9. [...] SketchFlow [...]

    Pingback by Expression Blend 3 is… - Rudi Grobler — March 19, 2009 @ 04:47

  10. [...] surprise avec SketchFlow, un outil de prototypage rapide présenté par Jon Haris [...]

    Pingback by MIX09 : Jour 1 | FredCavazza.net — March 19, 2009 @ 05:08

  11. [...] LA question (quel outil utiliser ?). Peut-être que des nouveaux entrants comme Flash Catalyst ou SketchFlow vont enfin mettre tout le monde [...]

    Pingback by MIX09 : Jour 1 (suite) | FredCavazza.net — March 19, 2009 @ 05:24

  12. [...] SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend (Christian Schormann) [...]

    Pingback by Dew Drop - March 19, 2009 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew — March 19, 2009 @ 05:45

  13. [...] SketchFlow in Blend 3 looks superb. SketchFlow and its player will, unquestionably, change the way I flesh out user experiences to clients and get their feedback.  It will be very interesting to see how this tool actually gets used in practice, and evolves as designers and developers embrace it.  It’s not SketchFlow’s intent to replace all other forms of sketching, but rather to augment them with something innovative and useful.  I hope it will also improve developer/designer communication, by providing a tool and talking point that both can use. [...]

    Pingback by robburke.NET » MIX09 Day 1: The “Software” in “Software+Services” — March 19, 2009 @ 06:35

  14. [...] SketchFlow in Blend 3 looks superb. SketchFlow and its player will, unquestionably, change the way I flesh out user experiences to clients and get their feedback.  It will be very interesting to see how this tool actually gets used in practice, and evolves as designers and developers embrace it.  It’s not SketchFlow’s intent to replace all other forms of sketching, but rather to augment them with something innovative and useful.  I hope it will also improve developer/designer communication, by providing a tool and talking point that both can use. [...]

    Pingback by Canadian UX Blog : Guest Post: MIX09 Day 1: The “Software” in “Software + Services” — March 19, 2009 @ 07:06

  15. [...] SketchFlow in Blend 3 looks superb. SketchFlow and its player will, unquestionably, change the way I flesh out user experiences to clients and get their feedback.  It will be very interesting to see how this tool actually gets used in practice, and evolves as designers and developers embrace it.  It’s not SketchFlow’s intent to replace all other forms of sketching, but rather to augment them with something innovative and useful.  I hope it will also improve developer/designer communication, by providing a tool and talking point that both can use. [...]

    Pingback by Canadian Developer Connection : Guest Post: MIX09 Day 1: The “Software” in “Software + Services” — March 19, 2009 @ 07:09

  16. [...] SketchFlow in Blend 3 looks superb. SketchFlow and its player will, unquestionably, change the way I flesh out user experiences to clients and get their feedback.  It will be very interesting to see how this tool actually gets used in practice, and evolves as designers and developers embrace it.  It’s not SketchFlow’s intent to replace all other forms of sketching, but rather to augment them with something innovative and useful.  I hope it will also improve developer/designer communication, by providing a tool and talking point that both can use. [...]

    Pingback by Transcending the Traditional Web : Guest Post: MIX09 Day 1: The “Software” in “Software + Services” — March 19, 2009 @ 07:12

  17. [...] electric beach » SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend (tags: prototype "expression blend" Sketchflow) Share and Enjoy: [...]

    Pingback by Futile » links for 2009-03-19 — March 19, 2009 @ 09:30

  18. [...] http://electricbeach.org/?p=145 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)rapid prototyping life 2.0 Filed under: Design Tools   |   [...]

    Pingback by Rapid Prototyping With Expression Blend & “Sketchflow” « Obviously Easy — March 19, 2009 @ 11:40

  19. This looks like the research we have been doing on sketching UIs at CMU, Berkeley, and now U. of Washington for the last 15 years. I’m happy to see it have commercial impact. See further discussion and links to tools at http://dubfuture.blogspot.com/2009/03/time-to-claim-success-on-electronic.html

    Comment by landay — March 19, 2009 @ 14:02

  20. [...] rendering performance on Wednesday; accented by a great keynote about design by Bill Buxton and SketchFlow in Blend 3 (not to mention true support for Photoshop/Illustrator [...]

    Pingback by MIX ‘09 Summary (so far…) « Zleek Speak — March 20, 2009 @ 00:33

  21. [...] a post by Christian Schormann on SketchFlow this sentence seems to lead me to believe that there’s “sketching” and then [...]

    Pingback by Incremental Blogger » Blog Archive » SketchFlow introduces ink to the design process — March 20, 2009 @ 07:12

  22. [...] Mix09 Microsoft introduced SketchFlow as part of the next release of Expression Blend. It’s a quite impressive concept: Keep the [...]

    Pingback by Incremental Blogger » Blog Archive » SketchFlow screams Tablet PC, but is anyone listening? — March 20, 2009 @ 14:20

  23. [...] the right set of tools to create this unified experience from ideation to production. (Check out SketchFlow in Blend 3, below is a screenshot of [...]

    Pingback by Canadian UX Blog : Return on Experience – learning from 3 Keynotes — March 22, 2009 @ 13:44

  24. [...] a complete announcement-fest! Tools and technologies such as the IE8 release, Silverlight Beta 3, Sketchflow, & Superpreview kept the keynotes singing through the 3 day event. You can read up all the [...]

    Pingback by Canadian IT Architecture Blog : Silverlight & SAP Announcement — March 23, 2009 @ 08:25

  25. [...] have just been reading SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend. This looks really cool, and I can hardly wait to get a copy. It has been a long time since I saw a [...]

    Pingback by SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend « FredSpace — March 23, 2009 @ 17:43

  26. [...] 24, 2009 by crocusgirl Due to the crazy list of releases and announcements (Silverlight3 Beta1, SketchFlow in Expression Blend, Blend 3 Preview, Super Preview, IE 8, ASP.NET MVC 1.0 etc.) at MIX09, there is already an [...]

    Pingback by MIX09: My UX « The daydreaming Crocus — March 24, 2009 @ 08:40

  27. [...] Sketching and prototyping in Expression Blend (Christian Schormann, 2009) [...]

    Pingback by Like Wow Online - Recommended reading from the 2009 Interaction and IA Summit conferences — March 24, 2009 @ 10:44

  28. [...] on each of your designs.  Hard to do this functionality justice, so be sure to checkout Christian Schormann’s blog, his presentation at Mix09 or the Day 1 keynote presentation (About minute 97), this had a lot of [...]

    Pingback by Dan's Blog : What you might have missed at Mix09 — March 25, 2009 @ 05:10

  29. I’d like to know How to use SketchFlow? What are the steps to Begin using it? Do I need something other than Blend 3?

    It looks Fantastic.

    Comment by bornykd — March 25, 2009 @ 14:35

  30. The current public Blend 3 preview does not yet contain SketchFlow, sorry! Stay tuned for an upcoming release.

    Regards,
    CS

    Comment by cs — March 26, 2009 @ 01:30

  31. [...] and line of business applications announced for Silverlight 3. For Vertigo developer Jon Galloway, the SketchFlow designer planned for Expression Blend 3 and demoed for the first time at MIX, promises to revolutionize the [...]

    Pingback by Microsoft MIX09 Showcases New Tools for Rich Internet Applications « Trailing Indicator — March 26, 2009 @ 10:50

  32. [...] powerful way to sketch and prototype rich, dynamic interactivity with Expression Blend.” – Christian Schormann. See Christian’s Blend 3 write-up and also another quick take on Blend 3 [...]

    Pingback by People Over Process » RIA Weekly #47 - MIX09, Open Web Standards — March 27, 2009 @ 14:42

  33. [...] SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend [...]

    Pingback by WPF and Silverlight tips and tricks | WPF Dev — March 27, 2009 @ 15:31

  34. [...] Blend just released SketchFlow two days ago for sketching and prototyping: http://electricbeach.org/?p=145 [...]

    Pingback by Pleasure and Pain » IA Summit 2009: A functional family reunion — March 29, 2009 @ 16:43

  35. [...] some of the announcements especially around Silverlight 3 were great. The demo Jon Harris did of Sketchflow was fantastic and will allow us to continue to deliver better solutions to our clients.If Ballmer [...]

    Pingback by Andrew Martin : Experience Experience Experience — April 6, 2009 @ 02:46

  36. [...] FEEL like we want? And the developer question: Can we build these ideas? Yes, I am talking about Sketchflow in Blend 3. It’s the first time I have seen a software tool truly solve these issues and answer our battle [...]

    Pingback by UX Array » Blog Archive » Why Static Wireframing Is Dead — April 9, 2009 @ 10:55

  37. [...] of Sketchflow one of the coolest features in Blend 3 is the ability to easily turn visuals like paths into [...]

    Pingback by Michael Wolf — April 26, 2009 @ 19:29

  38. [...] of Sketchflow one of the coolest features in Blend 3 is the ability to easily turn visuals like paths into [...]

    Pingback by Silverlight Travel » Using Blend 3 for Silverlight 2 — April 26, 2009 @ 21:26

  39. [...] Using SketchFlow for Prototypes Some excellent articles on using SketchFlow to create fun and agile prototypes by Simon Guest on InfoQ and Christian Schormann [...]

    Pingback by Using SketchFlow for Prototypes « Paul Feaviour’s Blog — April 29, 2009 @ 05:08

  40. [...] RIA ‘Sketching/Prototyping’ apps like: Adobe’s Flash Catalyst, Microsoft’s SketchFlow (part of Expression Blend 3) (try-it here) and the open-source [...]

    Pingback by RIA Sketching and Prototyping Tools « iuri — May 21, 2009 @ 22:20

  41. [...] hope to get that feature into your hands in an upcoming release. Christian Schormann has written a nice article on SketchFlow, so be sure to check it out for more [...]

    Pingback by Infinite number of possibilities... : What's new in Expression Blend 3 Preview? — May 26, 2009 @ 21:19

  42. [...] surprise avec SketchFlow, un outil de prototypage rapide présenté par Jon Haris [...]

    Pingback by Ideal » Archive du blog » MIX09 : Jour 1 — May 29, 2009 @ 00:30

  43. [...] Christian has also blogged on SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend. [...]

    Pingback by The Silverlight Blog - Home — May 31, 2009 @ 12:49

  44. [...] LA question (quel outil utiliser ?). Peut-être que des nouveaux entrants comme Flash Catalyst ou SketchFlow vont enfin mettre tout le monde [...]

    Pingback by Ideal » Archive du blog » MIX09 : Jour 1 (suite) — June 2, 2009 @ 02:14

  45. [...] Ed Foh At the Mix 09 conference held this year, one of the very exciting new products I reckon is SketchFlow, whic is going to be part of the upcoming Expression Blend 3. It’s a new design tool that [...]

    Pingback by SketchFlow: Exciting new design tool « Code Blitz — June 25, 2009 @ 04:28

  46. [...] electric beach ” SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend [...]

    Pingback by Today is 100 inspirational links about Sketching, Art, Drawing, Painting. For Figure Artists. | Life Drawing and Figure Art — July 9, 2009 @ 13:13

  47. [...] Sketchflow (A must have tool for every interaction designer) [...]

    Pingback by Robs Usability Development : Silverlight, ASP.NET, Ajax, Agile, MVC & Volta » Silverlight & Expression Blend 3 — July 11, 2009 @ 05:26

  48. [...] a side note, the UI sketch was produced using SketchFlow in Expression Blend 3 which looks quite [...]

    Pingback by Living in the Tech Avalanche Generation » Flexibility and Scalability with IronPython Plug-ins and NServiceBus — August 28, 2009 @ 04:11

  49. [...] http://electricbeach.org/?p=145 [...]

    Pingback by Sketching and Prototyping with Blend 3 — August 28, 2009 @ 12:17

  50. SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend…

    I’ve recently developed with my team a new UI for setting application preferences. Before we got started, it was important to define not only how we were going to do both technically and visually but also what we would be doing. For such an impor…

    Trackback by .net Brainwork — June 18, 2010 @ 10:12

  51. [...] SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend Posted on 21. March 2009 by John H. Selnæs Microsoft Expression Blend 3 introduces a new feature called SketchFlow, which allows someone with technical skills on the level of Notepad and Paint to create interactive and reusable prototypes. For a more comprehensive guide to SketchFlow, you’ll want to check out Christian Schormann’s blog posting on this technology. [...]

    Pingback by SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend | John @ Enable — July 3, 2010 @ 05:25

  52. [...] and line of business applications announced for Silverlight 3. For Vertigo developer Jon Galloway, the SketchFlow designer planned for Expression Blend 3 and demoed for the first time at MIX, promises to revolutionize the [...]

    Pingback by Microsoft MIX09 Conference Showcases New Tools for Rich Internet Applications | Osborn Editorial — November 24, 2010 @ 17:25

  53. [...] sketchflow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend [...]

    Pingback by Understand Sketchflow in 5 Minutes « Nasty Habits — December 15, 2010 @ 16:36

  54. [...] Christian Schormann’s blog has some really interesting posts about SketchFlow and Expression Blend. [...]

    Pingback by Students – Sketch out your idea and win! « DiggTheDrazen — October 19, 2011 @ 07:29

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress