Write a potential story how user would use the interface/application.
Number of ParticipantsFacilitatorsCategoryDurationLevel of Difficulty
11 Person as Storyboard ArtistIdeation, Prototype, Test Phase15-20minSimple


Robert Curedale (2013) writes in his book “Design Thinking – Process and methods manual” that “the storyboard is a narrative tool derived from cinema”. He explains that it “consists of a number of frames that communicate a sequence of events in context” (Curedale, 2013). A storyboard is a usability method that shows activities, experiences or interactions in individual steps, i.e. it is very detailed and tells a story. This distinguishes the storyboard fundamentally from similar methods such as paper prototyping, which only shows a single view of the product. Storyboards are used for movies, multimedia, and UX design (Curedale, 2013). Walt Disney invented the storyboard in the 1930s when he sketched stories for cartoons (Curedale, 2013; Cruise, 2015). “When Walt and his animators were working on a project, the first step was to outline the story, the plot. They made sketches of the various scenes in the story and hung them, in order, around the walls. A storyboard began to take shape! Those sketches became the storyboard!” (Cruise, 2015). There are three different ways of creating a storyboard. First, there is the thumbnail storyboard, which shows only one image (frame) of a scene. They can also be supplemented by adding text to describe a scene, which creates a written storyboard. The third type is an animated storyboard or an animatic. This is like a further development of a storyboard. “An animatic is a moving storyboard. Technically an animatic is a series of storyboard panels edited together and played in sequence with a scratch sound track or dialogue added to this sequence, to test whether the sound and images work in synchronization or not” (Tetali and Pancharia, n.d.). What makes the storyboard a special usability method is that it is a form of prototyping on the one hand. On the other hand, it can also be used to find ideas or even to test a prototype – so the method is very multifunctional. Storyboards can be used to generate concepts as well as for prototyping and even testing. Test persons could be asked to explain what they see in a storyboard to check if the prototype is detailed and clear.


  • Pen, Paper, Post-its
  • Board or empty wall
  • Storyboard Templates
  • Camer
  • Photos


Prepare the above mentioned tools of your choice. Then think about the whole story, its characters, actions, scenes and frame counts. At least for sketching ideas on paper, some basic art knowledge will be required. An online tool like Storyboard that2 needs a short training period, but will work even without artistic skills.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Grab your pen and paper (Storyboard template) or post-its and a board or use an online tool like Storyboard that.
  2. Think about what you want to describe. Think about the whole story first and try to tell it most efficiently.
  3. Who are your characters? Try to make differences clear and implement them in the story.
  4. Storyboards can consist of sketches or photographs; they can also contain text (short and informative). Consider the details, text, emotions and the number of frames. (For this workshop, 6-12 frames should be suitable.)
  5. Drafts can be refined by an iterative process.

Remarks, Tips, Limitations

Advantages: Shows a clear explanation of what is intended. Helps to track the real work and gives more time for editing.
Disadvantages: Often not very detailed. Time consuming and can be restrictive at voicing out ideas.


Find examples of templates here (last accessed on August 26th 2020):

Curedale, R. (2013). Design thinking: Process and methods manual (1. ed). Design Community College.
Cruise, G. (2015). It All Started With. . . Storyboards. (2015a, February 15). AllEars.Net
LLC, C. P. (n.d.). Storyboard That: Der Beste Online-Storyboard-Ersteller der Welt. Storyboard That. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from
Tetali, P., & Pancharia, V. (n.d.). Storyboard and Animatic Animation. . . Introduction , 20. Video Storyboard Template | Template Business . (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from

Contributed by Shahrier Erfan Harun & Sarah Rubens.