Storyboarding As One of the Ideation Techniques in UX

Ideation is a stage in design thinking which helps us generate solutions as fast as possible without evaluating and validating them. Even though an individual may effectively ideate independently, working with a group generally results in a higher amount and more diverse set of ideas. Therefore, this process might involve bringing a whole interdisciplinary team to the ideation session, such as a developer, designer, marketer, or copywriter.

It’s actually recommended to have all the team members mentioned above involved in the ideation process to maximize effectiveness. However, the process can get a bit chaotic with so many people involved. Luckily, several techniques help designers run the ideation process more smoothly, for instance, brainstorming, sketching, and storyboarding. This blog will elaborate on one of our favorite techniques – storyboarding. So let’s get into the details.

What is Storyboarding?

In user experience, storyboarding is a technique that visually depicts a user’s interaction with your product. Storyboards consist of several steps graphically representing the person’s path to achieving a particular goal. Each step may also include specific information about what people do, feel, think or say.

Why is Storyboarding Essential in the Ideation phase?

There are several reasons why this ideation technique makes a lot of sense:

  • First, a storyboard helps the team to collaborate.
  • Team members put themselves in the position of their customers and see and experience the product through their eyes.
  • It enables fuses independent and collaborative work within the team, enabling participants to ideate separately but join to create a coherent narrative together.
  • Finally, it allocates resources efficiently and leads to more effective decisions.

How to create a Storyboard?

When creating the storyboard, the participants should focus on the story’s narrative. They can consider following the same steps that the user would’ve taken when using the product’s interface. However, we recommend including information about the following questions while creating the narrative: 

  • Who is the primary persona, what scenario are you depicting, and what goal is the persona trying to achieve? (fill in the information from the user persona created during the define stage)
  • When and in what circumstances is this goal relevant to the persona?
  • Where might the action take place?
  • Why do users want to achieve this particular goal?
  • How are they going to achieve it?
  • During the process, how might they be using your product?

Once you’ve created the storyboard with the participants, you might also ask them to develop close-up storyboards. Close-ups help us zoom in more on the parts of the larger storyboard that are especially important to us. So, for example, after creating a general storyboard, you might ask your participants to create close-up storyboards that will focus specifically on the users’ interactions with the interface. These close-up storyboards will serve as a rough draft of the product’s interface, as seen from your participants’ perspective, which will ultimately help you to develop a prototype. 

The Example of a Storyboard

Let’s look at the storyboard we created for one of our clients. As you can see, it depicts the steps the user is taking to achieve a particular goal:

The Bottom Line

Overall, storyboarding is one of the most essential and long-standing practices in the ideation phase. A storyboard is a visual storytelling technique that stimulates a burst of creativity and helps participants define the desired journey for the user better. But to do so, the team should know what is going on in the users’ lives, how your product fits in their daily routines, and their primary uses for it. Once the participants have a clear vision of these questions, they will be able to build solutions that enhance users’ life.

 

Author: Giorgi Sosebashvili

Editor: Keti Getiashvili

Illustrations: Beka Buchashvili

Meet the authors

We are a 150+ people product design, software development, and growth marketing agency from Tbilisi, Georgia. Delivering hundreds of successful projects for industry-leader enterprise companies and startups earned us 100+ international awards, partnerships with Laravel, Facebook, and Google, and the title of Georgia’s agency of the year in 2019 and 2021.

If you are looking for a partner to extend your product or growth team or design and build a digital product, we are always open to a meeting!