An exercise using visuals to outline the steps of a process
Use this framework to show what a concept looks like in action. Storyboards build a shared understanding by telling a story about how people in the future might experience your idea. They can also help you gain support from decision-makers and rally a team to bring the concept to life.
A storyboard is a visual device used to demonstrate a narrative or illustrate a concept by showing panels (or “cells”) of your story in a linear order. Since storyboards are built using images—a common language that all involved can understand— they can help teams communicate ideas more clearly and evocatively than words alone. Storyboards don’t have to be masterful pieces of artwork; they just need to convey a meaningful sequence of events. Even primitive drawings can help you envision the possibilities of new interactive, cinematic, or transactional experiences.
There are a few basic points every storyboard should include:
Knowing if you have two hours or two minutes to tell a story affects the number of panels in each storyboard. Determine the length of time a panel represents (especially helpful for videographers and filmmakers). Does each panel represent a minute of time? A minute per panel means you only have to explain what happens in that minute.
Have a clear sense of which scenes are important so that if you have to cut for time, you know what scenes are expendable. Key scenes may be color-coded or include a sticky note so that you can tell at a glance what to keep.
The level of detail in your panels will depend on your time and resources. Manually illustrating each scene requires a lot of work on the creator’s end. Consider using clip art or stock images — especially if you lack drawing skills.
Even though it’s visual, you have to have some sort of reminder about why the panel exists, or others may not follow (or you could forget!). Are you giving a one-sentence synopsis of each cell or explaining the concept in detail?
The Scenario section is where you outline the scenario you are storyboarding. This first step is crucial to planning out the rest of the storyboard.
The Visualize Each Step stage is where you actually enter the scene for each panel. You can insert images, gifs, icons or even draw in the frame.