Stories and tales are the same. We live in a world of narratives. Stories are no longer only told in books and movies. You don’t need to be a writer and publish a book to tell stories. You can also tell the story on Instagram story. But why? Why do we like stories and storytelling?

Storytelling is a powerful way to express opinions and opinions. It is easier to convey a certain meaning and message with a story. The story is attractive, exciting and memorable for the audience. The storyteller draws the world he wants for the audience step by step. He takes him with him to discover something in the heart of the story.

A very important advantage of stories is that they can actually be depicted. The unreal world of the story can be made real in the outside world. In this way, what is only in the author’s mind becomes visual and visible in the form of a painting, sketch, picture, photo, and animation, short and long film.

So stories are practical and can be told with different means and also with different goals. The story may want to inform and awaken the listener and help him to cope with life’s adversities (story therapy). He may want to convey a political message to the audience (campaign films of electoral candidates). The purpose of storytelling may be to persuade the audience to buy a specific product (animations, short films, and promotional teasers).

Now that stories can be told with any means and purpose, why not take help from stories and storytelling to design user experience and product design? Be sure that it can be done. How about with storyboarding. Read this article to the end to see how storytelling can help UX design.

What is storyboarding in UX?

User experience design wants to make sure that the user/consumer is satisfied with every contact and interaction they have with the product, service or business. It is natural that different specialties and teams involved in product design, production and marketing participate in UX design. Even the user experience design strategy is formulated so that business managers and decision makers are also in the running.

A storyboard in UX is a tool that visually predicts and explores a user’s experience with a product.

User experience design is research-oriented. Because he is supposed to design the user experience for different consumers of goods or services, he must know them very well. The designer must enter the world of the user. Understand his needs, wants and problems. This is done by using different research methods.

After knowing the user, the story of interactions and experiences that the user is supposed to have with the product is designed. This story should be available to everyone involved in user experience design. This is where the designer takes help from storyboarding and tells this story in the form of images for all teams so that everyone knows what is most important to the user and what he will use the product for.

What is a storyboard?

A storyboard communicates a story through images displayed in a sequence of panels that chronologically maps the story’s main events.

Storyboard comes from Walt Disney and is basically used to make animations. But there is no reason not to use it in other fields to portray the main lines of other stories. It is with the help of the storyboard that it is determined what will happen in the story before the film is made. (Remember Mickey Mouse or Tom and Jerry? Each episode was first drawn on the storyboard.)

In the storyboard, it doesn’t matter if those frames are filled with hand-drawn, detailed, beautiful and detailed designs, or very simple photos and images. It is important that each frame tells a part of the story. A short description or dialogue may be written under each frame or inside it.

Storyboard elements

It doesn’t matter what kind of story (Mickey Mouse or user experience) the storyboard is designed to show, it should have 3 elements (scenario, images, description). Here, we explain these things based on the storyboard of the user’s story. Based on the research findings, you can complete the storyboard:

  • Scenario (scenario of user interaction with the product): Where does the story begin? Who is the main actor (persona)? What does he want (what are his needs and problems)? How does your product fulfill the need, in what time and situation and how?
  • Visuals: There is no need for very detailed plans. It can be very simple drawings and designs. You can leave a place to write quotes from the user in each image. If you have the facilities and time for complex visualizations, what better?
  • Caption: Each frame has a description. A short but accurate description of the environment in which the user interacts with the product, his state of mind or the use of the device (product).

Advantages of storyboarding in user experience design

I think the importance and benefit of storyboarding in the process of product design and user experience has been determined to some extent. The first and most important benefit of storyboarding is that it brings the user to life (somewhat, of course). In fact, storyboarding depicts the data obtained from research and tests and analyzes (Research & Usability Testing). Therefore, the designer and the teams involved understand exactly who they are designing the product for.

Everyone enters the user world. They get to know its needs and problems. They touch very well what problem the product should solve for the user, what are his priorities and what difficulties he may have when using the product. Everyone knows what the result should be. In this way, everyone is looking for the easiest and best possible ways to meet the needs of the audience and make ideas and products more practical.

Storyboarding not only coordinates the activities of the involved teams with each other, it also causes common thinking and synergy among them. Everyone can comment and contribute. Storyboarding is the best tool for ideation. Therefore, several storyboards may be designed at different stages of work and based on different ideas, so that finally the most satisfying story of user interaction with the product is formed.

Types of storyboarding in UX

Before designing, you should determine the purpose and audience of the storyboard. So first, the answer to this question should be known, why do you want to design a storyboard? Is there really a need for storyboarding? If the user and the story of his interaction and everything is clear and clear for all teams and there is no need for a new idea, what is the use of the storyboard?

If it is decided that a storyboard should be designed, other questions must be answered to choose the type of storyboard: At what stage is the product? Do you have any data from real users who had experience using it? Is the storyboard going to change the product and want to show those changes to the managers? Or is the storyboard supposed to be seen only by the multi-person user experience design team? How much time and money do you want to devote to its design?

You have two choices:

  • Storyboard design with software: Some of these software are free and some are not. If you are a big business and you produce a digital product, such as an application; Storyboarding with software is definitely better for you. Because the user interface design team can easily use it. (, a number of storyboard software have been introduced.)
  • Storyboard design on paper, board or even sticky notes: If the UX team wants to design a story in the early stages of work and for ideation, maybe sticky notes are the best choice. Or if the UI and UX team have a brainstorming session about the user journey, the story is drawn on the board.

Stages of storyboard design in UX

It is not supposed to be storyboarded for Tom and Jerry animation. The goal is to depict different ideas and possible user interactions with the product. It is enough to show the story clearly and simply. It is also important to take help from the real stories of users with the product and the emotions they had while interacting with the product to write the scenario.

Once you have determined the type of storyboard, you can design the storyboard in several steps:

  • Gathering information to write the screenplay: All screenwriters do research first and then start writing. At this stage, the results of user experience research (for example, interviews with users), user interface and marketing can be used and ideas can be obtained.
  • Write the story: Each storyboard should narrate a user interaction with the product. That is, it is not possible to include all interactions and experiences in a storyboard. At this stage, use short and flash descriptions and try to show the user’s emotions at each point in time.
  • Design the frames: Design (draw) the frames so that they are easy to modify and clear. Use real quotes from users as much as you can to make things seem real and more engaging.
  • Show to others and comment: Show to anyone who is the audience of the storyboard. Comment and revise it again. If necessary, replace it with a new storyboard.

A storyboard doesn’t have to be complicated or high-fidelity. Simple visuals and a basic, but specific scenario will be memorable for your team and stakeholders.


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