Barcelona Code School

UX Storyboards: the power of stories in the design process

UX Storyboards: the power of stories in the design process

Research is an inseparable part of the User Experience Design. Most common research techniques like interviews, focus groups, and testing sessions help designers gather information about their users and understand their needs. Hereafter the synthesis of all these data begins. But what is the best way to communicate the research insights to your team or share it with someone to get feedback?

From the beginnings of the language, humans have used stories to communicate, make art, do politics, write songs and gossip. Stories are 22 times more memorable than plain facts. And that’s where storyboards come in.

A storyboard is a graphic representation of a story, shot by shot. It’s made up of a number of squares with illustrations representing each situation, and with added notes about what is going on this particular moment.

UX Storyboards: the power of stories in the design process
Walt Disney and the storyboard of the future Pinocchio cartoon.

Why User Storyboard is a powerful tool for UX designers?

Good experience is a good story. Storytelling is commonly used in design to get insights about the users, build empathy and access them emotionally.

It is a simple way to put a human face to a raw technical data and help your team to see through the user’s eyes. Storyboard tool is an effective and inexpensive approach to explore and capture experiences in the design process. It helps you to predict users´ actions and give them spot-on solutions inside an enjoyable experience.

How can I create a storyboard?

We can make storyboards in a team or individually. It is a fast way to share your vision. In case you make it on your own, get out there and share it with some peers to get feedback and opinions on it! That what this method is all about!

Many would say: “But I don’t know how to draw…” The important skill here, is not to make an amazing illustration, but to communicate your idea in a clear way.

UX Storyboards: the power of stories in the design process
Nielsen Norman Group UX storyboard example.

To start creating a storyboard you should follow these steps:

  1. Choose the specific persona involved in the experience. Their needs, appearance, and behavior, as well as goals they try to achieve along the way, are very important.
  2. The experience scenario. What actions this user is doing and where? Who are the secondary people involved? Is it a shopping payment experience? Is it an online sign up? Is it a way they use a self-driven car?
  3. Create the plot of the story. It is always better to start your story with a conflict moment that shows the user’s need or problem. Each following step of the upcoming story will show how your super solution helps the user to overcome it. Think about all actions user has to do to achieve their goal. You should connect their frustration and happy moments to each action and situation that cause these emotions to make the story complete.

Conclusion

Such techniques as User Storyboards help us understand what drives user behavior. And often empathy is a skill that some may lack at the beginning of their journey as a UX designer. It is important to practice and train it to be a great designer who creates products people love and feel identified with. In our UX/UI bootcamp, we give great importance to help our students develop empathy skill by constantly working on the practices that put you in the shoes of your users.

If you’d like to learn more about User Experience Design check out these articles:

Back to posts