Understanding Storyboarding in the Software Design Process

software design process

Why storyboarding? Though storyboarding makes the software design process lengthy due to an additional step, they are a brilliant way to capture, relate, and explore experiences in the design process. Storyboarding for software design is growing in popularity both among the developers and the clients. It benefits the developers by streamlining the process for them and also works well for the client as it offers them greater transparency and clarity.

Let’s understand why storyboarding is gaining in importance in software development, and why it has the approval and appreciation of the clients and developers alike.

Real World Context

One of the greatest advantages that a storyboard has for a designer is that it allows the designer to quickly and easily add real-world context to the design process by involving places, people, and other potentially informative artifacts. Embedding real world context into the design process helps to keep it more rooted in the actual use and the experience of the users, thus simplifying and adding a proper narrative and context to the design process.

All software involves User Interface (UI). Storyboards allow us to situate these AIs in the real-world contexts in which they will be encountered. Connector manufacturing firm, Scondar, offers insight, “Verbal descriptions do not work well, as it leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. Sample images created through storyboarding allows no space for misunderstanding and helps the end-user understand exactly how the software will be implemented in the real world scenario.”

Helps Innovation and Focus of Mind

In the specification process of the development, the particular software generated screens are drawn on paper, or other software is used to illustrate important elements of the user experience. In this process, storyboarding helps in putting a human face on the analytic data. As the analytics get converted into a humanized experience, the client can offer feedback and suggest changes to the final result. They can give insight into users, tasks and goals. Thus storyboarding helps in inciting new design concepts and encourages collaboration and innovation.

Storyboarding also helps in ingraining a discipline of thinking in terms of experiential flow. It helps you to stay focussed and keep thinking in a linear fashion and not lose sight of the context and flow. This helps in ultimately improving the end experience.

Can Lead to Greater Savings

Storyboards can be configured to run with proper navigation and user interaction. What this enables is a visual representation of the software, as well as the process flow with the appearance of a complete solution. It is much more feasible and cheaper to make changes in a storyboard than an executed and completed software. You will be saving your client a significant sum of money. The engineers can take in the client’s suggestions and modify the storyboard, customizing it to the client’s specific needs.

Can Help Integrate Rich User and Usage Contexts

Through storyboarding, in user experience design, stories become much more clear and visually appealing through the incorporation of richer user, usage concepts and personas which is basically real people doing real things in real places, and not just some abstract idea. This works brilliantly as storyboarding functions as a means to an end, and not the end itself. Thus, designers can leverage storyboarding to enhance the stories being through visual illustration.

Prototypes Made From Storyboard Sketches Usually Turn Out Better

Storyboarding is a great way to share ideas and create a shared sense of purpose. But most importantly, storyboarding strengthens the user experience elements of designs. As a result, software for building prototypes from the sketches turn out more functional and highly innovative.

Drawbacks of Storyboarding

While storyboarding is growing to be a well-established practice in software design, there are certain drawbacks in the existing tools and techniques of storyboarding.

  • Technically storyboarding can make the process cumbersome and lengthy. Software that focuses on UI design rarely allows organic integration of human-centered stories. This often makes the designers forget or leave behind the context, while getting too preoccupied with the technical concerns.
  • Tools that capture stories and context are not integrated with the UI designs that go with them and needs continuous manual upgradation which can be very time-consuming.
  • There is a massive dearth of effective storyboarding tools. Most are only a display of UIs linked together, while other relevant and contextual information is missing.
  • For the few tools that do incorporate contextual information, these are just minimal or limited interactive storyboarding tools or mere app development tools, that don’t incorporate human-centric storytelling.

The answer to the above drawbacks is an integrated storyboard with extensive, rapid, code-free prototyping capabilities. With the below pain points being taken care of incorporating storyboards into the software designing process becomes easier, and more productive.

A. Facilitating Design Fidelity

 Design fidelity primarily refers to sketch to prototype. To take your prototype to a different level of effectiveness, interactive sketches can play an important role. When a new prototype can be automatically derived from the sketch, you can begin to draw hotspots and make an interactive prototype.

B. Greater Integration Between Prototype Screens and Storyboards

 A larger integration between the wireframes of storyboards and prototype screens must be achieved by storyboarding tools so that the developer can open and edit the screen to work on it right from the storyboard. This would also enable running your prototype directly from the storyboard block, and presenting the story directly to the clients.

To Conclude

Storyboarding can be a very beneficial process for both software developers and clients, as long as tools are developed to keep the focus on real humans in real contexts. As the drawbacks in storyboarding get identified and addressed, designers will be able to leverage storyboarding as a process and offer seamless wireframing and prototyping simultaneously.

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