The definition of the storyboard in UX Design?
Storyboarding in UX is a process where a designer visually tells the journey of the user on a given application with respect to various features/functionality. The storyboarding process helps UX designers to understand deeper about the expectations of the user and the patterns of interaction.
What an end user might experience when interacting with a system can be easily identified by creating a compelling storyboard. They give a clear picture to UX designers to identify what users actually need.
Why do Storyboards?
Think of a storyboard in simple terms like a story. When we show a story about an incident it gives a better experience than putting things in words. As the very old idiom says”A picture is worth a thousand words”, it becomes easy to understand by looking at a visual. When multiple visuals are stitched in a meaningful pattern to convey a story, it becomes a storyboard.
In UX Design, designers usually have research data, analytical data or assumed scenarios based on personas which will give a base to start the design. Once the design is done there need to be a way to validate it to see if the outcome is useful for users. This is when the concept of storyboard has evolved.
Storyboarding process is important for many reasons like
- They focus on users and their expectations
- Designers can understand the flows and observe what interactions are useful for users.
- They are an inexpensive way of understanding the final product
- They help in deciding the importance of various tasks on the product
- Helps in collaborative thinking where you can share and get comments, suggestions, and feedback from other team members or stakeholders to get an all new opinion
- Helps in defining the need and problem statement more strongly
- Helps in communicating the concept/idea.
How to do a storyboard, the best practices?
In the process of UX Design a final storyboard can be made using different tools but before getting into the details on output lets have a look at the process of it.
The UX Designer starts on the design with the process of making personas, scenarios, and workflows of various requirements of the product. Once this is done, they get a clear idea about the direction in which design is going. Now that the designer is clear about the user and the expectation, the next job is to stitch all flows which meet user needs and present it.
UX Designer might do the basic work of creating the entire product flow using paper sketches but gradually as the story gets clearer the choice of presentation comes into consideration. Here is when the designer starts making visuals for all scenarios. To make the visuals, depending on the timelines of the project and the stage at which storyboard is made, the designer will use tools like moqups, photoshop, sketch or any other comfortable and produces the images. Now, these images with little words for an explanation of interaction can be put in simple PPT to show the flow or any online tool like invision to make it interactive. This way the storyboard will be presented to team or stakeholders which shows the final solution.
Sometimes advance storyboarding also happens where high fidelity designs also will be made, finalized and put up as clickable screens to give real-time experience.
Step by Step process
- Set the background: define for what you are planning to tell the story, the message and the goal
- Think of user and the journey in the product
- Make prototypes and test individual flows
- Define a design direction which accomplishes all user goals
- Start making visuals of each screen as per the defined scenarios
- Put all visuals in sequence with words explaining the idea, interactions, and other supplementary points.
- Give a quick run through to see the story and flow is perfect
- share with team and stakeholders to start getting inputs which can help in giving the final shape
The best tools for prototyping
Prototyping is a process of simulating the final product using a series of sketches of sometimes pixel perfect screens. The goal is to test the idea and flow before spending a lot of time in the execution. You can use prototyping to find issues in usability, find areas of improvement and see the real-time usage of the product by users.
Now, depending on the kind of prototype a designer is planning to make, the tools come into the picture.
Some of the essential tools
- pencil and paper: the all-time best weapons to showcase an idea, iterate, convey.
- mockup tools: there are many online mockup tools available to start your first prototype from low fidelity to high fidelity
- Adobe tools: tools like Photoshop, XD can also be used if a designer is planning for pixel perfect prototypes but this is a rarity.
- HTML: some designers go little above, based on the project stage, to make HTML prototype which gives clickable capabilities.
So, when to use prototyping? It is essential to use it at every stage of design from idea to execution. No matter if you use a paper sketch or a detailed screen, the goal is to empathize with users and get more insights by doing and test method.
The process of storyboarding is very essential to give a holistic picture of user journey and to make such storyboard one can use any tool to make visuals which convey the story and prototyping tools are one of the essentials which can also be used for building storyboards.
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