Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Start with the Thumbnail

Our exploration of HTML continues. While we covered a few more tags and attributes, last night's focus was more about coming up with an idea for a website. Creating something out of nothing can be a bit intimidating, so we started off with tossing around a few ideas and turning them into thumbnail sketches.

Thumbnail sketches are very small, rough sketches that let you quickly outline the basic elements of an idea and share your thinking with others. Here's what I've written before about thumbnails:

By their very nature they’re not a pretty or perfect drawing -- you have objects overlaying other objects, lines scratched out, arrows pointing to a different version, a big X to abandon the initial idea which is now evolving into a new thumbnail, etc., etc. They’re small drawings, done quickly in order to work through an idea.

Though quick and small, thumbnails are very beneficial. Not only can
you immediately relay the basic elements of an idea to your audience, since they're visual they’ll help you see what isn’t quite working. You begin to see the holes or realize that one idea would be stronger split into two or wonder what in the world you were thinking in the first place. Rarely is this insight possible without first putting pen to paper (or marker to whiteboard as the case may be).

As for next Tuesday, well, that's when we'll start to transform those thumbnails into a site.

For further reading on thumbnails, check out:

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