Five Design Sheet [TM Interface Design]

Five Design Sheet

Blog, resources and introductory materials for the Five Design Sheet (FdS) methodology.

FdS is described more formally in:

Sketching Designs Using the Five Design-Sheet Methodology by Jonathan C. Roberts, Chris James Headleand, Panagiotis D. Ritsos. (2015)


Sketching designs has been shown to be a useful way of planning and considering alternative solutions. The use of lo-fidelity prototyping, especially paper-based sketching, can save time, money and converge to better solutions more quickly. However, this design process is often viewed to be too informal. Consequently users do not know how to manage their thoughts and ideas (to first think divergently, to then finally converge on a suitable solution). We present the Five Design Sheet (FdS) methodology. The methodology enables users to create information visualization interfaces through lo-fidelity methods. Users sketch and plan their ideas, helping them express different possibilities, think through these ideas to consider their potential effectiveness as solutions to the task (sheet 1); they create three principle designs (sheets 2,3 and 4); before converging on a final realization design that can then be implemented (sheet 5). In this article, we present (i) a review of the use of sketching as a planning method for visualization and the benefits of sketching, (ii) a detailed description of the Five Design Sheet (FdS) methodology, and (iii) an evaluation of the FdS using the System Usability Scale, along with a case-study of its use in industry and experience of its use in teaching.

The Five Design-Sheet (FdS) approach for Sketching Information Visualization Designs by Jonathan C. Roberts. (2011)


There are many challenges for a developer when creating an information visualization tool of some data for a
client. In particular students, learners and in fact any designer trying to apply the skills of information visualization
often find it difficult to understand what, how and when to do various aspects of the ideation. They need to
interact with clients, understand their requirements, design some solutions, implement and evaluate them. Thus,
they need a process to follow. Taking inspiration from product design, we present the Five design-Sheet approach.
The FdS methodology provides a clear set of stages and a simple approach to ideate information visualization
design solutions and critically analyze their worth in discussion with the client.

As written, FdS is entirely appropriate for a topic map interface, but how do you capture the subjects users do or want to talk about?


Comments are closed.