Today I attended the first day of the UX Australia conference here in Melbourne, of which SitePoint is a media partner. Rather than summarise the day or paraphrase one of the stand-out presentations, I decided to do something different — I tried my hand at sketchnoting some of the talks, using the black Sharpie pen and notepad provided in the conference bag.

Sketchnoting is a form of note-taking that I first saw demonstrated by Matt Balara at the same conference last year. The technique combines key points from a presentation, presented in a visually interesting and embellished fashion. As my first attempt, I felt fortunate that the structure and content of so many of the presentations was of such a high quality (and that so many presenters had interesting faces for me to capture!). Click on each image to view a larger version.

Stephen CoxStephen Cox: New Blood from Old Stones

Stefan Willoughby, Ceredwyn Ealanta and Will DonovanStefan Willoughby, Ceredwyn Ealanta and Will Donovan: Guerilla User Testing in Government

Andrew HarderAndrew Harder: Critique, Don’t Complain

Deb CoxDeb Cox: Bringing Whimsy to the Design Process

Todd ZakiwarfelTodd Zakiwarfel: Behind The Kimono

Dana ChisnellDana Chisnell: Beyond Frustration — 3 Levels of Happy Design

Shane Morris and Matt MorphettShane Morris & Matt Morphett: 101 Things I (Should Have) Learned in Interaction Design School

Anthony ColfeltAnthony Colfelt: Defining Experience Strategy with UX Designer as a Protagonist

I found the experience of sketchnoting extremely enjoyable — not only did I feel like I’d absorbed more of the speaker’s content than I would have otherwise, but I also found it helpful as a technique for remaining engaged in the later parts of the day when normally I might find myself zoning out (or, dare I admit it, nodding off!) Of course, the fact that I stayed interested is more likely due to the high quality of the speakers. At any rate, I look forward to Day 2, and to sharing my sketchnotes with you!

How did I do? Have you tried sketchnoting at a conference? If so, share your notes in the comments!

Matthew Magain is a UX designer with over 15 years of experience creating exceptional digital experiences for companies such as IBM, Australia Post, and He is the co-founder of UX Mastery, and recently co-authored Everyday UX, an inspiring collection of interviews with some of the best UX Designers in the world.

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  • Mike Rohde

    Matthew, really great work on your sketchnotes!

    I love seeing your work and hearing that the sketchnoting approach is really working for you. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to share it – so others could enjoy its benefits.

    BTW, Matt Balara is a great guy – so glad to have him spreading Sketchnotes down under. :-)


  • Matthew Magain

    Thanks Mike. Love your sketches!

  • Stephen Cox

    Thanks for the Sketchnotes Matthew – it’s always really useful trying to figure out what people took away from a discussion and sketchnotes are a lovely public way of doing that. Awesome work and thanks!

  • Matthew Magain

    Glad you like it Stephen. Thanks for an entertaining talk — a sketch of a presentation will only ever be as useful as the content it’s based on. :)

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