thumbnails as Product and Service Design assessment aid

We designers have many tools in our toolbox to quickly and effectively predict the hick-ups in the road ahead of us. Exceptionally high creative people like myself regularly ignore those tools and reinvent the wheel, with some spokes missing or as anything but round. I do this because getting stuck in patterns, principles and methods is looking back at something might have worked in the past but might not work anymore.

My preferred method, there we go, is to reach out to my dusty toolbox, take an useful tool and run with it. One such tool is to use thumbnails of a screen to see if the function of that page is clear, or not. As a principle (aha) I set myself the goal to communicate 3 things on a screen. I ignore often things like a toolbar, footer or the other similar elements.

Here is a screenshot of 12 screens in my Marvelapp project dashboard.

The above screens ain’t perfect and is therefor good material for this post. Here a visual summary as I see the screens at 100% of their size. When looking at thumbnails the effects are very different.

When I make the thumbnail images even smaller on my screen my perception of what is more dominant at a screen changes quite dramatically

I use this tool as a way to estimate what happens when you spend a lot of time watching a screen vs little time. The more time you spend on watching and investigating the screen the more the content itself will draw your attention. The less time you spend the more it is about contrast, size and placement.


If this interests you and you like to hire my services as a consultant, teacher or designer then contact me