A Quick Storyboard

Did I mention yet how much I love the Zite app on iPad? Zite is the must-have app for iPad users. It’s a personalized e-magazine that will create a collection of content in which you are interested. You can personally customize the content that you would like to read. It could be any topic content, such as food, fashion, higher education, web design, social media, etc. And, yes, Zite is a FREE app!

So, a few days ago I read the article, The Art of Storyboard, from the Zite. The author emphasized the usefulness of the storyboard for e-Learning project development. He used three analogies for viewing the storyboard as a tool, an art, and a project. I also view the step of storyboard development as an important step when I worked on any such projects as websites, computer-based programs, and multimedia presentations. I create storyboards for almost everything.

To me, a storyboard helps me organize ideas in my head, create a visual prototype, plan an interface design, and convey my thoughts and ideas to other team members and clients. Also, a storyboards is like a business plan but  in an informal visual aid. So, without a plan any project can easily become chaotic. As an Instructional Designer and training platform developer, when designing an e-learning project, I used the storyboard to plan, design, and control the program structure, navigation, interaction design, multimedia placement, and scripts. It sounds a lot of work but necessary to plan them all out before the development starts. The storyboard needs to have enough details in order to allow other team members to see a big picture and the design details, as well as to keep everyone on the same page.

A storyboard can be created quickly and easily using common software application, such as MS Word, PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop. I used Photoshop to design a mock-up program interface. Photoshop allows me to select a color scheme very quickly. You can also design a program background and navigation buttons in Photoshop. Then, I brought all the design elements into MS PowerPoint to figure out the placements of buttons, texts, video clips, and graphics. It’s easier to go through each slide in PowerPoint when you are dealing with multiple pages/screens. If you have a narration script to go with each screen, you can put the text under the Note section for each slide. Also, you can create internal links to jump among pages/screens, so you can design the program navigation and interaction. If you have any media that going to be used in the program, you can import to the Powerpoint too.

Remember that the storyboard is just a prototype or mockup version of your project. You should not spend too much time to make everything look perfect, but you should cover all essential design elements so that you can visualize what the final project is going to look like. Some people even create a storyboard by sketching everything on a piece of paper. I think that’s OK too, but it might not be effective when you have several people working in the team and trying to figure out what you wrote and what you drew. In addition, it’s a lot easier to archive and treat the storyboard as a design document if you put everything in digital format using MS Words, PowerPoint, and Photoshop.

I hope this post would help you realize how important the storyboard is and provide you with small tips about the tools I used to create a quick storyboard. If you have any questions and would like to know more, leave me a comment!

Note: Images used in this post retrieved from Google.

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