There are many reasons for using storyboards:
- Visually displaying an overview of information
Storyboards are graphical by nature and can give one a simple means of seeing
how the information on their Web pages will appear prior to going into
the Web development phase. Problems such as oversized information chunks,
image placement, presentation organization, and others can be avoided.
- Stimulating divergent thinking
As your storyboard is laid out, you can begin to think holistically about
your information presentation. New ideas can be stimulated concerning where
students may want to go for additional information on topics. You may also
notice ways that students will use Web navigation logic as described below.
- Organizing Judgmental Problem Solving
You often have to make many decision during an instructional design process
such as what to include and where to include it. You also have to consider
whether an element will make pedagogical sense including whether a particular
element will add value to the course or help to meet objectives beyond
those that can be met by simpler means. Your goal is not to add time by
doing a storyboard, but consider ways that you can avoid mistakes later
on. You may find from your information overview that a particular media
element will not fit into your plans the way that you anticipated and should
therefore be reconsidered, redesigned, or left out.
- Generating a Plan of Action
Time management is a difficult issue in anyone's life. Having a well laid
out plan of action in course development helps one to properly allocate
time to various responsibilities during the development process.
- Demonstrating Functionality of Elements
As your information linkages and navigation elements develop, you are able
to visually see how the various chunks of information within your course
- Showing Navigational Schemes
While certain navigation schemes are obvious within a course design, by placing
the design in a graphical context, you can begin to see how the navigation
elements will interact with content elements in your course. You can also
consider where various styles may be most appropriate in your color and
- Choosing a Style
In an environment where text and multimedia elements are integrated, it
is important to choose how this information will appear to the user. Part of
this choice is color and text attributes, logo design, metaphorical image development,
etc. Storyboards can help one to visualize this information for better choices
across the course as a whole. With storyboards, you can simultaneously look at
various pages throughout a course and better see how such choices will affect
- Checking Completeness
Once the entire course has been laid out, you can take a step back and see
whether something is missing. Perhaps there is an objective that is not
currently being met by the content choices made thus far. It is better
to notice these negations prior to further development so that extensive
editing of content is not required later.
- Evaluation of Design by Peers
When working by yourself, or in a group, it is usually a good idea to get
the opinions of others before beginning to place your content within your
course. Others may have ideas that you had not thought of or ideas of how
what you have designed may not be appropriate. You can then take these
ideas and develop a better and more effective course.
- Building a Consensus among a Group of Designers, Content
It can be a difficult process to develop a course in a group. For example,
a designer may have different ideas about content placement and organization
than a content expert or multimedia creator. Storyboards provide a common
element upon which all those involved can fall back on. They provide a means
by which the developers can attain a consensus prior to getting involved
in the project. They also allow for simplification of the allocation of projects
to various individuals involved with the project.
- Graphical Sizing
When creating a graphic within a graphics program, it may look great. However,
when you place this graphic within the context of other course materials,
you may see that it is too big for your anticipated use or that its color
clashes with other elements. Having a graphical representation prior to
completing graphic design helps to avoid poor image sizing, etc. You may
also feel that the information presented in the image is important and
requires a large amount of space. You can then see whether a thumbnail
to a larger image is appropriate or whether the page layout should be modified
to accommodate a larger image.
It is my personal belief that the following two reasons are perhaps the most
important when considering to use storyboards.
- Understanding the Relationship of Individual Elements to
the Overall Scheme of the Course
When you can place all of the elements of your course into their context
in a simplified visualization, you can see the relationships of all of the
elements. You may see items missing and even redundancies.
- Finding Cross-Referencing Linkage Possibilities
By placing all of your information in an easily digestible visual format,
you can begin to see how the various information elements of your course
are and/or should be linked. Since online students do not navigate in a
linear fashion, it is important to understand where students might link,
and how they can get there and back.
All of that being said, I must admit that there is a reason not to use storyboards.
Especially if it is your first time using them, it is likely that they will
add time to the design stage of your instructional development process. On
the other hand though, if this time can be minimized through knowledgable
and simplified uses of storyboards as outlined in the following pages, and
if the use of storyboards results in a more effective course, that time may
be well spent.
Storyboards into Practice