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Storyboards are an essential tool when designing computer-based training systems. They help keep developers, graphic artists, and subject matter experts all on the same page while working together. This can save you large amounts of time and money while avoiding truly unpleasant surprises. Tony Leonard explains all the elements of storyboards, and how to use them.

  1. Creating and Using Storyboards
  2. What is a Storyboard?
  3. Storyboards as Documentation
  4. Basic Form
  5. Question and Feedback Form
  6. How do I Create Storyboards?
  7. Automated Storyboard Tools
By: Tony Leonard
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November 15, 2004

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The “main” storyboard has a place for a sketch for showing the placement of text and graphics, the actual text, and a sketch of the needed graphic. It also includes the following information: date storyboard was created or updated, screen name, course name, lesson name, storyboard number, attachment number, page number, the window title, the menubar, the navigation buttons, the author’s initials, the programmer’s initials, the revision number, an area for a text description of what’s happening on the screen, a place for additional instructions, and to and from navigation. Whew!  By the way, this form is done in a word processor so that all but the sketch of the graphic can be done electronically.

I’d like to explain some of these items starting with storyboard number, attachment number, and page number. Because storyboards can be added, deleted, and rearranged, it’s best to number your storyboards using increments of 5. In other words, use 1, 5, 10, 15, etc.  That way you can add in storyboards without having to renumber any of the following ones. Attachment number refers to the type of storyboard. In this example, attachment A was the basic storyboard form. Attachment B was the audio script, Attachment C was the video script and so on. This refers back to the “packet” concept where it takes several storyboards to describe one screen.

Finally, page number is simply a sequential page number. This was put in at the request of a client that used these storyboards for review. They were having a hard time dealing with the increments of five and wanted sequential page numbering for their review copies. That gets away from the impact of adding, deleting, rearranging that the incremental storyboard numbers was trying to prevent, but it helped in the review process and wasn’t as painful as you might think. Those of you that are Word or WordPerfect mavens could insert a page number field that does this automatically. If you do that, you wouldn’t have to have both a storyboard and a page number.

>>> More Practices Articles          >>> More By Tony Leonard

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