Storyboarding is a powerful way to make visual what it is you want your app to accomplish. And although you can use Microsoft tools such as PowerPoint or Visual Studio to create a storyboard, sometimes the best way to get started is to pick up the reliable, old-fashioned pencil and sketch on a piece of paper.
Storyboards have long been used when designing visual content, such as movies. Storyboarding which is where you provide a sequential series of illustrations of events is an effective way to show someone what you imagine will happen. Does a battle scene fit better here or a bit later after you’ve established a little more character depth? What will the background look like? What emotions should the characters be expressing?
Since apps are also visual, app developers can benefit from using many of the same storyboarding principals. To begin, ask yourself what the major goals of your app are. What is the final action that is going to be accomplished? Does your app deliver a final response after compiling information? Is it an app that submits a report? Once that major goal or purpose is identified, then work on identifying the steps needed to get from here to there. Start at the beginning and keep asking yourself the question, “What do I need to do next?”
Storyboarding your flow of screens from one action to another helps confirm that if you can visualize the whole thing on paper, your audience will likely find it easy to understand on the screen, as well. In this initial stage, be sure to:
- Rough out your app’s primary screens and menus
- Figure out the way people will progress through your app to accomplish primary tasks
- Map the screens and prioritize the tasks
- Draw the general visual proportions of the tools and content
Don’t worry about colors, button sizes, and spacing until you’ve settled your app’s larger picture.
Once you have the big picture of your app, go back to the beginning, and add in the details that will make the app useable and stand out. Aspects to consider in this final storyboarding step include the addition of:
- Colors – make sure there is consistency from screen to screen
- Status, navigation, tool, and tab bars
- Table views
- Predefined buttons
- Sliders, switches, and spinning wheels
- Paging indicators
Remember to keep your app as clean as possible and avoid the impulse to put in numerous bells and whistles. Keep the pathways in your app clear of clutter and your users will thank you for its ease in the end.