Star People: How to Storyboard Quickly and Effectively

by Rachit Gupta

As designers, on a daily basis we communicate our thoughts and ideas. One way to do that is to storyboard and visually demonstrate the story. But:

How much time should we be spending on storyboarding?
Impose a harsh timeline on yourself, like 10 minutes.
How to create a productive storyboard?
Storyboarding isn’t about creating pretty pictures, it’s about communicating ideas.

Here’s a quick technique:


Star people

I learned this technique from an online course, Human Computer Interaction by Prof. Scott Klemmer (notice the favicon).

Their body looks like a star

Instead of spending time drawing fancy pictures, use star people in your storyboard. Here’s why:

You can make them do anything; quick and easy

They can hold, point, touch, jump and so on!

Just extend one arm and you have him raising his hand. Communicating the story becomes so easy when granular details are avoided. Focus on the interaction.

Download template. Print and draw!

It takes less than a 2 minutes to make a star person in Sketch

If prefer being digital, this is quick!

If you’re more of a digital person over paper, it’s just a ‘union’ of two basic shapes (an oval and a star) in Sketch.


Storyboard should consist of

The fundamental three things every storyboard should have to be complete:

Environment

  • People involved: All the people involved should be clearly distinguishable.
  • Task: A storyboard should have a clear goal or task being accomplished.

Steps

  • Motivation: The storyboard should be clear what is leading the user to the next step. A fluid connection within every frame makes it easy to understand.

End result

  • Satisfaction: In connection to the task, the storyboard should depict how the user feels satisfied and his need is fulfilled.

Storyboards have helped me flush out the flow for an idea without thinking about the UI, which is one step closer to being empathetic. I’ve been using them since forever to share my concept with the team and get feedback. I’m a paper person by the way.