What is UI sketching?

UI sketching is simply the process of drawing out your user interface ideas before diving deeper into the design process. It can be done with pen and paper or with a variety of online tools. UI sketching doesn’t really need to be detailed, it’s just a way to start visualizing ideas without significant time and effort.

Want to improve your website or product design process? Before you go down into the path of wireframing, prototyping, and developing, start with sketching.

Benefits of sketching

Although simple, sketching is an important step of web design and development. It allows you to identify high-potential ideas (and rule out less valuable ones). Here are just a few of the benefits of sketching.

Sketching is fast

Since you can sketch with pen and paper or on a whiteboard, it’s the fastest way to present your ideas. Any changes and updates can easily be erased or replaced prior to presenting (or during a presentation) to stakeholders.

It promotes creativity

Sketching empowers your creative mind by allowing you to focus on the ideas rather than the aesthetics.

No tools needed

While many UI designers prefer to use online tools rather than pen and paper, knowledge of a particular tool is not required. Sometimes tools can actually hinder you from presenting all of your ideas, because it takes more time and effort to use a tool than to grab your notepad.

More ideas, in less time

You can bring more ideas to life with rough sketches than with polished design. With more ideas in hand, you’ll be better prepared to select the best option and move on to wireframing.

Sketching vs. wireframing

Sketching is usually done prior to wireframing. Think of it as a rough draft or outline before you add more form and structure. Sketching allows you to bring multiple ideas to life, select the best option, and then move to wireframes, which are more of a blueprint of the user interface, and include a plan for navigation.

Relevant Terms


Prototyping is a crucial phase of any design project that uses an interactive, navigable version of wireframes to simulate how the final product will work.

Low-Fidelity Prototypes

Low-fidelity prototyping is a fundamental phase in the web design process. Ideas and concepts are presented using simple lines and shapes without concern for aesthetics or detailed content.


Wireframing is an efficient and low-cost way to visually represent the structure and layout of a product or website before progressing further into design and development.

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