Prototyping Postcards

Alastair Somerville
4 min readAug 1, 2019

I’ve got some new postcards for workshops on basic UX and Service Design prototyping skills. They’re fairly simple – just boxes, lines and circles. This post is just about a few possible uses for them. The examples all come from workshops I’ve run previously.


The cards are standard sized A6 postcards with same image on both sides. It’s boxes for narrative boundaries, lines for titles and comments and circles for additional ideas.

Cards for many purposes

The simplicity is deliberate. The postcards are tools for use in workshops. They’re for practicing and learning. They are not meant for use in an absolutely specific way. They are to enable people to find their own practice and see how others find theirs.

They are tools to look up and look around.

Here are a few possible ways of using them that I have seen with earlier versions.

User journey/story

This is the classic UX and Service Design idea of sketching a comic story of how a user meets their intent.

I’ve found circles are useful to add emotions to these kinds of stories. Particularly when the narrative does not follow the Sad To Happy storyline.


Maps are useful when presenting ideas about people and places. These can link both to wayfinding work and to Service Design ideas of swim lanes (switching between service providers or tools).


With chatbots, voice systems and conversational design in fashion nowadays, it is useful to sketch out the frameworks of how we talk and interact.

Mapping Listening is also something that can be done. This kind of work can lead to use of multiple postcards as options cascade out.


Choosing what to do or not to do is important and so cards are useful to share with table groups so they can vote (anonymously if needed) on what they like or dislike.


How time affects users comes up in work, particularly linked to public transit. How people want to use their time and how they plan to use their time can differ as timetables and service availability affects choices. I remember a Loneliness project where it was timing of buses back home that affected decisions to go out.

Cognitive Loops

This pattern is more important to workshops on sensory/emotional design that I run.

It’s about the loop of human cognition from imagination, thru anticipation to interaction and then the return of experiences thru sensemaking to memory.

Postcards to share

These are postcards for workshops for participants to share ideas and develop their own sense of how to work.

I’m happy to share them with other people if you’d like to try them.

You can buy a package of 20 cards for just $10 on Etsy now.

I can also be contacted on Twitter to discuss postcards or full workshops.



Alastair Somerville

Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX