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Ideation: Whiteboarding, Sketching, & Wireframes To Create Design Ideas

Ideation, also called brainstorming, is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas for a product or process. It also helps with filtering through the good and bad ideas before any time is spent in implementing the idea.

When designing a product or software it’s important that you have ideation sessions. These are sessions where anyone involved in the product gets together and starts brainstorming solution ideas. There are many different ways to do this. I personally really enjoy using sticky notes, whiteboarding, and creating wireframes. There are many more ways to generate ideas that also work great. Here’s a great list of 19 of them: 19 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Generate Ideas for Every Situation.

These techniques help the free flowing of idea and to discuss and see which ideas are the most viable. After the ideation session there are several different methods of grouping and reviewing the idea.

Here in this post I’m showing some of the methods I prefer when conducting an ideation session.

Sticky Notes

Everyone writes the ideas they have on sticky notes. Then we group like ideas, throw out the non-starters, and begin to isolate which ideas are best.

Post It Notes Ideation Session by Matthew T Rader
Post It Notes Ideation Session by Matthew T Rader
Whiteboarding and sticky notes ideation
Sticky notes and whiteboarding ideation

Whiteboarding

This method allows you to write all your ideas on a whiteboard. This method can be very effective but it also has its drawbacks. With whiteboarding, everyone says their ideas as someone writes them on the whiteboard. This can be a very dynamic and engaging process. But sometimes people who are shy may feel left out because they are less likely to speak up.

Whiteboarding by Matthew T Rader
Sketching on a whiteboard

Whiteboarding by Matthew T Rader
Whiteboarding by Matthew T Rader

Wireframing

Wireframing is another ideation method. You can state the problem and have various people on the team wireframe the solution they have in mind. Then you all review and compare them. You can also, as the designer, create wireframes then present them to the team and get feedback before a lot of design work is completed.

Paper wireframes ideation
Paper wireframes ideation
digital wireframe brainstorming
digital wireframe brainstorming

There are actually many methods to ideation. The key to finding the one you think works best for you and your team. It’s also fun to experiment with a variety of them in different sessions which your team will enjoy.

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