Storyboarding: The art of storytelling in UX

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Source: Isabel Sousa on Dribbble

“You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people; design is made for people.” — Dieter Rams

With all the research, statistics, and data that’s been collected for building a product, communicating the findings to the team and stakeholders is crucial. What better way of presenting your ideas than a series of comic-like illustrations, a storyboard.

Storyboarding is a fluid process of brainstorming, sketching, and planning the user flow through the product.

Let’s have a look.

What is a storyboard?

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix storyboard
Storyboard for Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix’s scene (Source)

Storyboarding is a form of visual communication used to represent a sequence of events. For short films, TV programs, advertisements, video games, it helps one visualise the elements of the final video or multimedia project. A storyboard helps one see the flow of thoughts.

Storyboarding is a technique for visualising a project from start to finish.

It helps to make the process less confusing for everyone involved.

The storyboard does not have to be a work of art, but it should convey the story clearly and make it easy to visualise.

How can a storyboard help designers see how a user will interact with a product?

A digital product’s storyboard

One can compare movie storyboards to UX storyboards, but they are different. Movie storyboards communicate the visual effects, camera angles and the essence of the shot. Whereas UX storyboards explore a user’s experience, convey the sequence of states and flow of users’ interaction with the product in the form of illustrations.

For example, you can create a storyboard of a website and show the navigation of the home page and the subsequent pages. This type of storyboard can also help a designer see whether a site flows logically and is easy for users to use.

Why storyboarding is important in UX design?

Content creation illustration on Dribbble
Source: NJI Media in Dribbble

Storyboarding is a quick way to present an idea to stakeholders in an easy way for them to digest. In addition, it demonstrates how someone might interact with a future product or service.

Storyboarding takes a human-centred approach to product designing.

Designers put themselves in the user’s shoes, visualise their product journey, and address the pain points. Storyboards are often created collaboratively to address issues that might not be obvious at first glance.

Storyboarding helps create a quick and rough skeleton of the design. Design being an iterative process, storyboards help put out and test multiple ideas at once or scrap the ones that don’t work. Thus, it helps save time and have an efficient approach towards the whole process.

However, it’s not always required.

If everyone involved in creating a product already shares a solid mutual understanding of how the project should be developed and are aligned regards to what the design direction should be, then there’s no need for a storyboard.

You can learn more about creating a storyboard here.

To summarise:

If you are designing the user experience for any digital or physical product, storyboarding can be one of the best ways to plan your project.

All in all, storyboarding is one of the most effective tools for understanding users because they save time and effort, reinforce your designs, and ensure that team members are on the same page about what’s happening in the design process.

Storyboarding: The art of storytelling in UX was originally published in UX Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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