Innovations in Visualization

Follow that Sketch: Lifecycles of Sketches and Diagrams in Software Development

Jagoda Walny
Jonathan Haber
Marian Doerk
Jonathan Sillito
Sheelagh Carpendale


Informal visualization in the form of sketching and diagramming has long been an established practise of professionals working in the fields of design, architecture, and engineering. Less is known, however, about the sketching and diagramming practices of computer scientists and software developers. Through a series of interviews with computer science researchers who develop software, we probed the purpose, contexts, and media in which they created and re-created sketches and diagrams, and the ways in which these informal visualizations evolved over time. Through our analysis we created visualizations of the observed sketching and diagramming lifecycles, which can contribute to a better understanding of the roles of sketching and diagramming in software development.


Jagoda Walny, Jonathan Haber, Marian Dörk, Jonathan Sillito and Sheelagh Carpendale. Follow that Sketch: Lifecycles of Diagrams and Sketches in Software Development. In VISSOFT 2011: Proceedings of International Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis. IEEE, 2011. PDF Paper