I always love observing people using a piece of software for the first time. Arguably, it teaches you more than any book you could read on “how to create the best product“. My last “experiment” involved my kid (5 year old), our iPad, and Adobe Sketch.
It was his first encounter with Sketch and I was really curious about the outcome. He used other drawing apps in the past but he didn’t really enjoy them – he would still prefer the good-old paper & pen.
I opened the app and explained to him the basics (available drawing tools, changing colors, and using the virtual ruler) and then I gave him the iPad, and resumed to an observer role.
Much to my surprise he was completely immersed into the drawing experience taking breaks just to explain to me what he’s just drawn and then quickly move to a new sketch. And he continued to do this for about an hour and a half, until we had to switch off the iPad as we were approaching Munich airport.
In a couple of words he totally loved the experience. It was the best digital drawing experience he had so far (caveat he didn’t try all drawing iPad apps in the world).
By watching him drawing and knowing his history of drawings and passion for installations I think I know why he enjoyed the tool so much. It boils down to the fact that the tool helped him to draw quite closely whatever image/idea he had in his mind. The simple drawing tools and the powerful yet simple to use digital ruler helped him to draw like he was never able to do, until now.
This realization made me think again about tools, humans, and the relationship between them. Designers and developers have always had their favorite tools and sometimes heated debates on what & why this tool is the best/better than the other one.
But at the end of the day a tool is just a tool – it helps to achieve the vision you have in your head and not to create the vision in the first place. And tools that don’t stay in your way but instead help you shape your ideas and dreams, have got to be great.
I know this is the reason why my little boy loved this drawing experience.
- The images from this post are drawn by my son when using Adobe Sketch for the first time.
- They are displayed in chronological order. You can see how the complexity of his drawings evolves as he better understands the tool.
- Yes, blue is his favorite color. At least this summer.
- The last drawing is his masterpiece – at least according to him. And no, it is not an apocalyptic device that’s gonna destroy the world. It is just a big vehicle with many wheels, a huge drilling device, a blade to push the dirt, and some other details I forgot about.