Storyboarding in UX Design: Learning the What, When, Why, and How

  • a strong plot
  • a structured narrative
  • a focus on the main goal you’re trying to achieve

What is Storyboarding in UX Design?

A storyboard is a powerful visual communications tool to improve user stories by making them more authentic, emotional, simple, and clear. The underlying philosophy being that visual representations offer a far easier way to see elements making up the “big picture” than a text-based document.

Storytelling and Storyboarding in UX Design

A UX storyboard helps strengthen your research phase by exploring and visually predicting the user experience and interaction with a product over time, giving designers a clear sense of the user’s priorities and goals even before the product or service is launched.

What is the difference between user journey and storyboards?

The most important distinction between a user journey and a UX storyboard lies in their content; while storyboarding in UX design comprises visual representations of the main events of a scenario, user journeys are far more detailed and contain complex, textual information about the process that your customer will be going through in order to achieve a goal.

When and Why You Would Need To Use Storyboarding in UX Design

Storyboarding in design thinking is done early in the design process, typically during the ideation or discovery phase. The main reason for early storyboarding is to gather insights from the team and see if everyone is striving towards the same goal while ensuring that the user needs are being considered explicitly. Storyboarding in UX design, in turn, creates a way for teams to collaborate and find new solutions for users by staying aligned on a shared thinking and vision about the user experience.

Human-centered Design Approach

While storyboarding in UX design, the people are central to the design process. Stories put a human face to user data, analytics, and research findings.

User Flow

Designers always think about their users and put themselves in their shoes to see how users interact with the product. This approach enables the designers to fully understand any existing interaction scenarios as well as test predictions about potential new ones.

‘Pitch and Critique’ Method

Since storyboarding in UX design is a collaborative effort, it provides everyone a chance to contribute to the activity. This results in a clearer picture of what should be developed and promoted as new design concepts. Each scene of the UX storyboard should be analyzed to allow team players to leave their reviews and create insights.

Iterative Approach

Storyboarding is heavily reliant on an iterative approach; sketching out a UX storyboard helps designers experiment with a variety of things with very little or no cost at all when it comes to testing multiple design ideas simultaneously. Since these sketches are so quick and rough, nobody gets too attached or connected to the ideas that are generated.

How Do You Create A UX Storyboard?

While it’s mostly an informal activity, you can still structure your storyboard in a way that helps you and your team fully reap its benefits.

Structure of a Storyboard

Before you start directing your storyboard, you will need to ensure that you understand all the basics of the story.

Main elements of a UX storyboard

The Character

Your character — or the persona — is the central figure or hero of your story. Everything associated with your persona is very crucial, for example, behavior, feelings, expectations, and decisions made by the focal person. It is also essential to reveal the mindset of your character completely in order to illustrate the situation best. Address questions like:

  • What is the problem faced by the main person?
  • How is the problem resolved?
  • What are the needs/wants of the main character?
  • What are the goals/clear outcomes to be achieved from the whole scenario?

The Scene

You will need to have a realistic, recognizable, and relevant environment for your persona to live and thrive in this scenario. The scene is the space that the character finds himself or herself in.

The Plot and Narrative

The plot needs to be highly convincing, simplistic, and realistic in nature. The narration of the story must be focused on the goal of the character in the plot.

  1. Exposition
  2. Rising Action
  3. Climax
  4. Falling Action (or final suspense and resolution) and
  5. Denouement (Conclusion)


In this entire article, we discussed what a UX storyboard is, when you would need a visual storyboard, how storytelling and storyboarding in UX design are carried out, and why storyboarding is needed.

  • A UX storyboard assists in getting a good understanding of the people you’re designing for. One cannot understand good design if they do not understand people.
  • Storyboarding in UX design is an outstanding visual tool for designers to bring conceptual ideas to life before they start ideating with their team.
  • Designers put themselves in the user’s shoes, visualize their product journey, and address the pain points through visual communications tools such as a UX storyboard.



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