IA & wireframing

Storyboards

Colton Schweitzer
November 4, 2020
“At our studio, we don’t write our stories, we draw them.” –Walt Disney

What makes some leaders so memorable and others not so much? What’s the difference between an excellent public speaker and a bad one? 

While it can be attributed to a multitude of factors, all great leaders and public speakers have one thing in common. They are fantastic storytellers. 

Stories reach audience’s hearts and minds. Great stories are powerful and memorable. In fact, a story is 22 times more memorable than a straight fact. This is where a storyboard comes in handy.

So what is a storyboard?

Storyboards are basic sketches or images in a specific sequence that tell a story, usually in a fairly informal manner. 

They were originally used in film, animation, and comics. They helped filmmakers visualize concepts before filming. 

Their primary focus is imagery with supportive text to convey ideas. Storyboards are used in UX as a tool to help you and your team build empathy for the user and visualize a user’s experience with your product. 

A scenario is a part of a storyboard. It’s the setup. A scenario introduces the persona, the context, goal(s), and the problem(s). 

A storyboard builds on the scenario by taking the story from the beginning, where the problem is introduced, to the end, showing how the problem gets solved. It’s not about showing the UI of the product. It’s about showing the high-level relationship between the persona and the product and their emotions throughout the process. Storyboards are effective because visual representations quickly capture the audience’s attention and make it easier to understand complex ideas.

As a UX designer, storyboards help you get a sense of what the user is going through so that you can design more objectively and provide solutions that are tailored and meaningful. 

Depending on the project, the quality of the storyboard can vary greatly. The main idea is to get the concept of the story across.

Here are some of the common uses of storyboards:

To better understand how people will use your product.

To empathize with what the user is going through.

And to gain feedback on an idea during a user interview. 

There are four elements to a UX storyboard: 

1. The scenario.

2. The location where it takes place.

3. The drawings or pictures. These are the sketches of the story in the right order. 

4. Supporting text. 

Some people are very talented artists and can draw beautiful storyboards. If like us, you still draw like a 5-years old, that’s okay. Storyboards aren’t a beauty contest. They’re a tool to get closer to and empathize with users. What matters is the story itself. The drawings are just the way to visualize it.

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