Digital Tools are excellent and essential, but they are a terrible place to start. When you’re working on a new idea and the possibilities are still endless, the linear flow of modern digital tools is a recipe to build something like the things you’ve already built or someone else has already built. Starting with digital also increases the risk of missing the point of the project altogether by working in high fidelity before you’ve truly figured out the essence of what you’re trying to make.

For years, I used paper notebooks for this step in my process, but about 2 years ago, I gave E-Ink a try, and I haven’t looked back. E-Ink devices, like the reMarkable 2, have the conveniences of Analog Tools, combined with digital portability and collaboration. As a User Experience designer, there are often times when I have an image in mind or even on my sketchbook, but I’m trying to discuss it with one of my coworkers via Zoom. Not only can they not see what’s in my mind, they also can’t see what’s in my sketchbook. I’m effectively left with just my words to try to communicate the vision for this idea. With E-Ink, I can share my drawing screen in real-time with my colleague and that person can see exactly what I see. If a detail about the sketch isn’t quite right (or I haven’t explored that detail yet), we can explore that together. E-Ink can bridge the gaps created by a remote workforce. When I’m done with this step in the process, I can share the result with others without having to rip the page out of my notebook or find a camera or scanner.

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