• Personas inform us about the people we are designing for.
  • Wireframes show us the layout of the experience the user will have.
  • WireFlows reveal how the wireframes connect and how they will impact the experience.
  • Storyboards help us see the persona’s experience within their environment, using the application or device designed for them.

Storyboards are an easy way to show, not just tell, how the device or application will benefit the persona. They depict the experience story of the user.

Using the example of a persona who likes to share photos, we can explore how storyboards help visualize the journey. They want a way to quickly share with others and receive feedback or compliments on the picture they’ve just taken. The above description describes Instagram, but it doesn’t show how the ability to share and receive instant feedback could affect the user’s life.

Verbal sharing

Tom is an avid outdoorsman; during his trips, days or weeks might elapse, and details might get lost, but he loves to share his story which helps unfold the experience. Since Tom’s parents have never been able to join him on the trips, he often brings home the photos and shares the stories verbally.

Visual sharing

Instead of waiting weeks, Tom could share the images as soon as he captured and recorded the thoughts that went with them at the moment.

This behavior of story-telling is similar to earlier times when communities would gather around to view slideshows of each other’s vacations. In immediate sharing, Tom’s community gets to see what he’s doing almost as soon as he does it, and they are enabled to correspond with him.

Sharing immediacy

So, when he crawls out of his tent, as the sun brushes the mountain tops, he thinks, “I need to share this!”—he can.

Instant community

Tom posts the image, and his family, friends, and followers have instant insight into what made this moment special.

Instant access

Tom is notified that people are seeing and are, in some ways, with him in his adventure. Tom’s story is a UX story.

UX done right tells the story about the user, their environment, their needs, and their interactions and micro-interactions daily. Storyboards give us a visual glimpse into their world.

Crafting a user’s UX story does take time and planning, but used correctly, they can help steer the requirements for upcoming jobs. They can help define the scope of the application/device’s whys and hows and can help build scenarios for user testing.

As one more way to understand an experience, storyboards allow us to get a sense of the emotion, the thrill, and the satisfaction that UX can bring to the user and their community.

UX Storyboarding For Personas