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Draw It

Spur deeper and different kinds of conversations by picking up pen and paper and drawing.


Suggested Time

30 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pen, notebook


Design team, a person you’re designing for

Process Phase

We’re strong believers in getting visual at IDEO.org, and drawing is a great way to learn from the people you’re designing for. Whether it’s you with the pen or them, a quick sketch, a graph, or a timeline is a fantastic way to bridge language barriers and keep a record of your research. Drawing can also help the person you’re designing for organize her thoughts visually and generally spur ideas and conversation in a different way than talking. For example, you may ask someone to draw everything they spend money on in a week, or map out all the jobs they’ve had, or show you the route they take to their job. And remember, you don’t need to be a great artist for drawing to be a highly useful tool.


  1. Make sure you have pen and paper handy when talking with the people you’re designing for. Even a sheet torn out of your notebook works great. 
  2. When you want the person you’re designing for to draw something, give them a clear idea of what you’re after. A map of their daily route? A timeline of their annual income? What percentage of their fields are dedicated to a certain crop? 
  3. The person you’re designing for may feel intimidated or that she’s not a good artist. Help her over that fear. Or be the one to draw first so that she doesn’t feel embarrassed. 
  4. You can use the drawings as Conversation Starters. This Method can get you to a deeper understanding of the person you’re designing for so investigate what they’ve drawn.