Have you ever been in a situation when you wanted to create a short visual story using storyboards but did not have any idea from where to start and which tool to use? As there are a plethora of storyboarding tools available online, it becomes more difficult for people to find a right tool that would help them in creating stories based on their requirements and display an effective story. In this article, I will provide storyboarding tool evaluation analysis report by taking some of the most famous tools available to create storyboards.

Importance of storyboarding

It is important to validate the prototype of a product from its potential users that shows its users a story of how it could solve their problem because the next stages of the project rely on the feedback received from those target users. So before developing a product, teams can create short intuitive storyboards to visualize a story of how users will be using that product that would help them in various ways.

We know ‘A picture is worth thousand words!’ and series of pictures together tells a story, which is definitely better than a lot of text written. But, these pictures (stories) are effective when described with relevant explanation of what is happening in that story.

Steps to create storyboard

To create these storyboards firstly, identify the personas who would be using the product and then creating a script for those personas that visualizes the tasks performed by them. If there are any other actors who play secondary roles but are important for the task, then we need to add those in the storyboard.

Tool selection

Once, we identify what type of stories are needed to be created, then comes the challenging task of identifying the tool to be used. For this part, I shortlisted 6 tools based on 10 criterion required to create simple yet effective storyboards.

  1. Storyboard Creator – Storyboard That
  2. Storyboard Generator
  3. Storybird
  4. Pixton
  5. Powerpoint
  6. Story Map

To decide which is the best tool for storyboarding, we need to compare these tools using a set of criteria (that can vary according to the project needs) and then assign ranking accordingly.

Below is a table of tool evaluation table created to compare these tools on 10 factors required for our project.

The most important factor is – Fitness of purpose that decides the relevance of the tool for the project. Understanding the customer segment (who is using the product) and the category to which they belong is very important. Each segment has a different level of understanding of how to use a product. We need to create storyboards accordingly and therefore, we need to understand Learnability, Simplicity, Usability, and Support or Training Availability of the shortlisted products. Followed by the options these tools provide to create varied storyboards such as Download or Upload options.

After comparing those tools based on set of factors mentioned above, we get the following table

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 5.28.03 PM.png

Storyboard Tool Evaluation Table based on Weighted Criteria

After looking at the table, I would say the easiest tool to create an effective storyboard is Storyboard Creator (Storyboard That). It definitely saves the time in learning the tools and you can start creating visualizations in no time.

Reasons why I selected this tool over other tools are:

  • It is a simple storyboarding tool that offers an attractive, inexpensive option for creating simple cartoon outlines.
  • It proved to be exactly fit for our project requirements because it gave us the option to select images and characters from a wide range of its library.
  • It was easy to use since it did not require any installation. The only thing required to use this tool is to register and create an account .
  • Students can choose the free version to create the storyboards for simple projects. It is simple to understand for creating any type of storyboards.
  • It has a functionality of drag and drop character pictures to the storyboard screens that makes its usage and editing the board even simpler.
  • According to its official website, it provides its users with more than 325 characters, 225 scenes, 45,000 searchable images from its inbuilt library. Items may be resized, rotated, repositioned and layered.
  • It provides templates in which you can create your stories in a comic strip style along with hundreds of scenes, characters, and text bubbles to fill your storyboard’s frames.
  • Along with these templates, it also provides a number of already created storyboards and gives the option to select to modify and create new storyboards using those templates.
  • It has advanced features including export options that provided with a number of ways to share our story. You can print the storyboards, export it to PowerPoint, export a collection of high-resolution images and a PDF, add a storyboard to any web page and share the storyboard via email or on any popular social site. It also gave a wide variety of fonts.
  • It provided an extensive detailed level of help and tutorial guides to get started with storyboard under its help section. These were easy to read and understand. Help Page
  • They also provide on the go help via chat facility where we can send any message and online support people can provide help at the same time. Furthermore, they provide help with the email system.

           From my own experience, I can say that…

  • ‘Storyboard That’ is an extremely simple but powerful tool. In just a few mouse clicks, I was able to create a storyboard that clearly illustrated our goal, actions, and objects of a concept. It enabled effective communication and collaboration through a visual representation of concepts and problems.
  • It is worth putting in an effort to learn this tool proved because in no time you will be able to create meaningful stories in a creative yet official way.
  • Its premium account is not very expensive for the students as they provide a wide range of switching to their premium account (monthly, quarterly or annually). The students can contribute to getting its premium account that would be very economical to use, and we can use all of its advanced features without much of a hassle.
  • As its website suggests, it works in a similar manner and very well in practice.

 

It has few limitations such as:

  • The free account lets us save up to 2 storyboards per week and therefore, we need to create multiple accounts for creating more than 2 storyboards.
  • The character poses and gestures were limited in the free version and had to be included separately from different sections making its usability little time consuming.
  • It did not provide a facility to upload images in the free account and so a user is restricted to use the inbuilt images.
  • Its premium account provides uploading own visual media to be added in storyboard panels save more than 2 projects daily, more types of layout options and watermark free PowerPoint or .pdf exports.

 

Other top 3 tools considered for evaluation

Storyboard Generator – Rank 2

It is a storyboard tool that allows us to choose a script and create a storyboard using background location photographs. It provided a limited number of pre-defined scripts and can also be difficult to understand the flow of this tool for designing storyboards.

One of its advantages is that it is a free tool to create stories but registration is mandatory in order to save a storyboard and learning curve is really high.

Storybird – Rank 3

It allows us to create our very own personalized stories and books. It is committed to sparking user imagination by providing a variety of colorful and vibrant Illustrations that ignite creativity.

We are required to choose photos for including in a book with dialogues and poems. There is a wide range of pictures and painted images available, but it is difficult to find characters fit for a specific project’s use cases.

It is a great tool to create animated pictures, stories, and poems with a caveat that we cannot upload our own images. However, it curates artwork from illustrators and animators around the world which are quite evident from its collection.

Pixton – Rank 4

Pixton is a do-it-yourself site where we can use an incredible palette of tools to create and share original comics. There’s plenty to do with the free Basic Membership and a reward system of credits that allows us to advance to higher levels or publicize comics. In order to use this tool we are required to sign up for “Pixton for Fun,”.

It lacks tutorial and help-guides that make it little hard to understand.

 

Here are some storyboards that I created using Storyboard that tool.

scenario-childaskingparents-copycollector-new-usecaseprovider-usecase-new

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