I recently attended World Usability Day hosted on Microsoft’s Redmond campus with a colleague of mine, A. Jellenek (ajellebean). On our way home, stuck in the inevitable traffic headed South, we started talking about how fun it would be to create a storyboard tool.
It should be fun to use. It should be easy – like, drag and drop easy. It should be portable – usable on a mobile device as well as online or on a user’s desktop. And, oh yeah, it should be fun to use.
The first sketch I threw together (above) shows a simple interface. It features a ( + ) symbol that, when activated, adds another blank panel to the board. Dialogue can be entered and associated with any added persona within the scene. Notes may also be added to help set-up the scenario.
Within each panel, a user might want to add different people (personas). High-level options would, of course, be gender, but it would be necessary to add a way to dictate the person’s facial expressions in order to convey their feelings about what’s happening in the scene. Fun options would include clothes, hair styles, and anything else that makes the personas in the scene more tangible/relatable to an audience.
In addition, users may want to update, edit, or otherwise change the scene or backdrop in the panel. Think of these backdrops as environments like the office, home, restaurants, or car.
Also, to make the tool a little more robust, it would be great to feature an “Add Accessory” tool – something I’ve been fond of calling the “Paper Hat” tool. If the user is in need of a usability storyboard to show the use of a new phone, having the ability to drag and drop a graphic likeness of a phone into a scene is paramount.
Of course, when shared, the panel is greatly simplified. It depicts the panel number, dialogue, personas, environment, and any notes the user has specified in edit mode.
There are many, many (many) iterations to go, testing, testing, and re-testing, but it’s fun to make a start.