Story boards: Scenario of use

A story board provides a visual story of the scenario of use of a product or service. It is a design tool to communicate how a product or service may work and how the target user might interact with it. The story board conventionally involves a series of scenes that are in time-linked sequence. The time may be over a short or long period, of varying time periods between scenes, but will be sequential.

They offer the viewer an opportunity to see the process involved in using a product or service. The user, task and environment are often described in the sequence.

A storyboard may be a low fidelity hand-drawn sketch sequence or a high-fidelity computer-generated animation or film presentation.

Story boards have a number of advantages:

  • They can be low-cost
  • Quick to produce in minutes
  • Demonstrate complex systems
  • Can evoke some level of empathy through description of UTE
  • Highlight important moments that may be performance or safety critical
  • Can be presented to an individual or team for review
  • Can be used as a presentation tool to target users of a predicted product or service for evaluation
  • Can be used as a real-time design tool to review complex systems with a multi-disciplinary team for expert review.

Useful links

Martin, B., Hanington, B., 2012. Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions, Rockport, Beverly.

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., Butler, J., 2003. Universal principles of design: 100 ways to enhance usability, influence perception, increase appeal, make better design decisions, and teach through design, Rockport, Gloucester.

Torrens, GE and Black, K (2011) Equipment design in inclusive physical activity and disability sport. In Riobas, AC, Stamatakis, E, Black, K (ed) Design for Sport, Gower, pp.153-178, Available at: (, Accessed: [23/09/2015]

Torrens, GE (2011) Universal Design: empathy and affinity. In Karwowski, W, Soares, M, M, Stanton, A, N, Eds, (ed) Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Products, CRC Press, pp.233-248 Available at: (, Accessed: [23/09/015]