In user experience design we’re familiar with user research techniques like workshops, contextual inquiry, and interviews. We synthesise our research into audience archetypes, user stories and process flows. We communicate our thinking and solutions to our teams and clients with artefacts like personas, flow diagrams, and wireframes. And if we’re feeling really fancy we can even shell out experience prototypes and service blueprints. Somewhere in all of this lies the people for whom we’re designing, what’s going on in their worlds, and how we’re making their lives better. As practitioners in the science and craft of UX, we innately get it, we see the narrative that threads all of these artefacts together – the spirit of the solution breathing through it all, that we want our clients to be captured by.
But clients tend not to be conceptual thinkers like us; they need us to connect the dots. And that’s where storyboards come in. Storyboards – indeed all forms of conceptual illustration – work well because of two truths: firstly that the act of drawing (and even seeing others draw) can help us think, and secondly that images can speak more powerfully than just words by adding extra layers of meaning.
Johnny Holland: Storyboarding & UX – part 1: an introduction