Guideline: Storyboarding
Storyboarding is a technique for capturing logical and conceptual description of system functionality for a specific scenario. This guideline outlines situations where storyboarding may be helpful and provides ways and means of Storyboarding.
Main Description

Movies, cartoons, and animated features all begin with storyboards that tell who the players are, what happens to them, and how it happens.

  • Help gather and refine customer requirements in a user-friendly way.
  • Encourage more creative and innovative design solutions.
  • Encourage team review and prevent features no one wants.
  • Ensure that features are implemented in an accessible and intuitive way.
  • Ease the interviewing process - avoiding the blank-page syndrome.

Simply put, storyboarding means using a tool to illustrate (and sometimes animate) to the users (actors) how the system will fit into the organization, and to indicate how the system will behave. A facilitator shows an initial storyboard to the group and the group provides comments. The storyboard then evolves in "real time" during the workshop. So, you need a graphical drawing tool that allows you to easily change the storyboard. To avoid distractions, it is usually wise to use simple tools, such as easel charts, a whiteboard, or Microsoft® PowerPoint®.

There are two distinct groups of tools to use for storyboarding: passive tools and active tools. Passive means you show non-animated pictures, while active tools have more sophisticated capabilities built in.

Examples of passive tools for storyboarding are:

  • Paper and pencil
  • Post-it® Brand Notes
  • GUI builders
  • Different kinds of presentation managers

Examples of active tools for storyboarding are:

  • Apple HyperCard
  • Solutions Etcetera SuperCard
  • Macromedia® Director Shockwave Studio and other animation tools
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint®

Caveats and comments:

  • Storyboards need to be easy to create and change. If you didn't change anything, you didn't learn anything.
  • Do not make a storyboard too good. It is neither a prototype nor a demonstration of the real thing ("realware" perception).