A Story about Storyboarding

Image credit: Chris Campbell, flickr, (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A storyboard is a written or graphical representation of all of the elements to be included in a digital story. The elements of the story are arranged in the storyboard in the chronological order allowing the developer to organize and rearrange content for maximum effect.

Creating storyboards is an often overlooked component of digital storytelling and for many students, storyboarding may seem like a tedious extra step.

I think rapid storyboarding is the way forward. I basically found WeVideo’s drag and drop tools so easy to use, it was a no-brainer to rearrange elements dynamically, allowing me to remain in the “creative zone” while developing a movie.

Take a look at this video from Adobe to get a sense for what’s coming.

Note this comment from a LinkedIn discussion thread:

 … you may want to re-consider storyboarding all together and consider a rapid prototyping approach – where you actually build the product in progressively higher fidelity iterations until it is ready to launch. You may find that this approach saves you time and can lead to more creative final learning experiences.

Or how about this excerpt from Michael Allen’s Guide to eLearning:

 Functional prototypes have an enormous advantage over storyboards. With functional prototypes, everyone can get a sense of the interactive nature of the application, its timing, the conditional nature of feedback and its dependency on learner input. With functional prototypes, everyone’s attention turns to the most critical aspect of the design, the interactivity, as opposed to simply reviewing content presentation and talking about whether all content points have been presented.

To my mind, the most important traditional use of storyboarding is as a medium for communicating the story in a convenient fashion for stakeholder and management sign-off. However, the web-based video development platforms are so easy to use and communicate prototype ideas via the web that they might render storyboarding unnecessary in the near future.

For now, storyboarding is alive and kicking. Here’s my storyboard for a Digital Storytelling MOOC assignment on Coursera, run by the University of Texas.

Watch the final video here (I would like to re-record the voice-over again soon).


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