What Is A Storyboard In Web Design?

In the 1930s, Disney Studios introduced storyboarding in filmmaking; a technique that used sequential sketches to show an outline of the flow of the entire animated story/film.

This concept eventually extended to the digital realm.

In this article, I introduce you to storyboarding in web design.

Much like original storyboarding, web design storyboarding involves a strategic creative process that lays out the structure of a website or web project before it is actually designed/developed.

Simply put; a storyboard is a visual map that a web designer bases on to organize and plan what a website will look like and how it will work.

It is an essential tool in ensuring a successful web design project.

It’s like a sketch or a blueprint of the website; with a sequence of drawings and illustrations showing the different website pages and how they will link with each other.

A web designer uses a storyboard primarily to figure out the flow of website elements that is, where components like text,  images, buttons, and others will be placed on each page, and which part will link to the other.

What is Included in a Web Design Storyboard?

Web design storyboard

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A web design storyboard should be clear and easily understood by team members. Here’s a summary of the components to include in a storyboard:

  1. Pictures of each web page the website will contain; each page can be represented by a different box or frame.
  2. Content placement; there should be a clear indication of where images, buttons text, videos, and other media will be placed on each page.
  3. User interaction and navigation; illustrate how users will interact with the website like what happens when they click a button, open a menu, etc. how will they move from one page to another.
  4. Descriptions; in the storyboard, each page should have annotations and descriptions of what exactly is to happen in each element.
  5. Responsive design; if the website is meant to be responsive, there should be clear adaptations of different screen sizes and resolutions showing how elements will appear and interact with each.
  6. Design style and visual elements; showing the colors typographies and other styling elements that will be applied on the website.
  7. Animations and transitions; indicate where these will be and how they will be used.
  8. Call-to-actions; such as forms and buttons to indicate what users need to pay attention to.
  9. Space for notes and feedback; for team members to make necessary observations during the design process.

What is the Function of a Storyboard in Web Design?

Web design elements

As mentioned in the previous section, the essence of storyboarding is to visualize a blueprint of the entire website structure before it is developed. Below are the key purposes of a storyboard in web design:

1. To Understand and Visualize User Experience On a Website:

A web designer can lay out the entire journey of a website user; showing how they will navigate through the different pages and what happens if they click on certain elements.

This helps the designer identify and fix potential navigation issues and in turn, ensure an easier and more enjoyable user experience.

2. To Identify and Fix Design Flaws:

With the website design represented visually, a web designer can identify any faults or inconsistencies in the design and be able to produce a better and more polished final design.

3. Collaboration and Communication:

Designers, developers, and stakeholders can use the storyboard to ensure that they are all in agreement about the structure and functionality of the website. 

And if there are any misunderstandings they can be cleared earlier in the web design process before the real project begins.

4. Content Organization and Placement:

A storyboard helps a web designer arrange text, images, and other media on the different website pages and make sure they are presented in a manner that’s not only engaging but also makes sense to a user.

5. Support for Responsive Web Design:

With a storyboard, a web designer can plan how the website will adapt to different screen sizes (desktops, tablets, or mobile phones) and make adjustments where necessary, hence ensuring a coherent experience across different platforms.

6. Presenting the Web Design Concept to Clients:

A storyboard can help you effectively present your ideas to clients because they can visualize the functionality and structure of the website, and they are able to ask questions, give feedback and ultimately make informed decisions about their website.

In a nutshell, a web design storyboard is highly beneficial to developers, designers, clients, and stakeholders alike during the web design process. 

Clients can understand what they’re getting and be involved in the process, stakeholders can make informed decisions about the project, developers can accurately implement the website structure and designers can visualize, collaborate and ensure a flawless user experience and final product.

Also Read: How To Choose A Web Design Agency

Frequently Asked Questions

Qn. What is the main purpose of a storyboard?

To sequentially plan and organize the layout/structure and functionality of a website before its development.

It ensures that developers, designers, stakeholders, and clients are in synch about the web project and that ultimately users get the best experience.

Qn. How do you create a storyboard for a website?

These are the basic steps to create a storyboard for a website:

* First, gather all the information you want to include on your website; images, text, videos, etc.
* Organize the information into different topics working your way from the most extensive/general and narrowing down to the specifics, eg from website sections to pages to visual design.
* Decide on the titles, headings, subheadings, and content for each page.
* Plan a logical structure for the content; how it will flow and link.
* Set up your menu structure.
* Layout your interior template page (heading, main content area, sidebar, footer).
* Test your layout and make changes where necessary.

Qn. What are the critical points to keep in mind when creating a storyboard for my website?

When creating a storyboard for your website, make sure whichever element you add to the website will be useful to your users or web visitors in these ways:

* They should be able to know important information about your product or service.
* They’re prompted to take specific actions like making purchases or signing up where necessary.
* It should be engaging, intuitive, and interesting to your website visitors.
* Visitors should easily find the next step or be guided to related content.
* Make the process easy with call-to-actions
* Use personalized follow-up messages to reinforce users’ actions.

Qn. Can a website storyboard be used for responsive design?

Yes, a storyboard can be optimized to show how the website layout adjusts to different devices and screen sizes/resolutions.

Qn. Is a web design storyboard necessary for every web project?

No, it is not necessary to make a storyboard for every website project, but it is highly beneficial for complex projects or any projects that require clear design planning.

Qn. Can I modify a website storyboard during the process?

Yes, a storyboard is flexible and can be adjusted based on any design changes and feedback from the team.

Qn. What digital platforms can I use to create a website storyboard?

Depending on your expertise, needs, and design preference, you can try out tools like Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, Canva, Storyboard, and many other offline and online design tools.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, whether it is created using a pen or pencil and paper or with the help of digital tools, a storyboard can be a powerful visual tool to guide your website design process and ensure a successful result that satisfies both business goals and user expectations. 

Try it for your next web design project!

For any comments, questions, or suggestions, please use the comments box below. Remember to subscribe to my Youtube channel and newsletter for more tips and tutorials.

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Grace is an Editor at GoTechUG and she has written many articles about website design and social media. She has experience in IT and loves to tinker with anything to do with computers. In her spare time, she loves music, movies, reading books, and learning Spanish.

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