An initial design sheet template can be downloaded here.
The three individual design sheets are to record three ideas from the initial brain‐storming exercise. The use of the number three is for guidance only. But, it is recommended that three design sheets are created.
Too few designs mean that it is difficult to have a discussion with the client. Too many and it would waste the clients time. It may be that there are only two sensible designs, but it would be better to create a third design, however unusual or unfeasible it seems, because the client may be able to see or extend the ideas through discussion. They may be able to see an application of the idea further than you can.
These design sheets should represent three completely different designs. Consider the hyperspace of possible designs, the three that you should propose should cover this design space well.
The Content of the three design sheets should be similar. They should contain:
- the Layout of the design. This is the vision of what the final visualization would look like. Commonly this would appear as a sketched screen‐shot of the typical visualization application.
- Focus. There may be a few key visualization techniques, or in particular, novel visualizations that are being created for this tool. These should be described in the Focus section.
- Sketches and some brief descriptions of how the user operates the visualization, or controls the user interface should also be included.
- A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of this technique should be included somewhere on the design sheet.
- Finally meta‐information should be included: including title, authors, date, sheet number and task.
The three design sheets aid you in your discussion with the client. The sketches give the appearance that the ideas could change. Also, the designs give the client an understanding of the breadth of possible outcomes.
There are different approaches to designing the Layout and Focus/Zoom sections of the design sheet. One method is to follow Dan Roam’s suggestions of sketching designs that are Portrait, Chart, Map, Timeline, Flowchart and plot. Each of these represent who/what, how much, where, when, how and why, respectively. Dan Roam also suggests that the designer should think whether they are simple vs elaborate diagrams, quantity or quality, visionary or execution, individual or comparative, represent change or ‘as‐is’.