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Digital Scribe: Paper sketching tool

I'm a huge fan of paper sketches. They are the best way to get your ideas out in front of your team and clients before jumping into mockups or HTML. In most cases, the high level items can be decided on paper sketches, leaving the details to the mockups.

I usually draw sketches with a thin tipped sharpie on some printer paper, then scan or take a picture of it and upload. Over the years I have tried the digital options like Wacom tablets, but I could never get a consistent or satisfactory result. Until now, of course.

I recently tried out a device called the Digital Scribe. It's a simple device that will capture natural handwriting from any surface, and store it directly onto your computer. When I first bought it, I was skeptical. Now that I used it, I am amazed. I just place the thing at the top of the page and sketch. Everything I do is recorded to the screen, which can be exported as an image and sent off to the team. It really works well. If you do paper sketching I highly recommend it.

There are a couple disadvantages so far.

  • Only works on Windows
  • You must use their pen, which is not as nice as a sharpie

I'm now working at Indy Hall, so I set this up along with the usability testing station, which uses Camtasia. Since both require Windows we just use the same dedicated machine.