In practice, there are no rules, constraints, or fixed constructs, so a storyboard can be anything the team wants it to be. The team should feel free to use its imagination to think of creative ways to storyboard a specific application.
However, most generally , storyboards can be categorized into three types, depending on the mode of interaction with the user . These are passive, active, or interactive.
Passive storyboards tell a story to the user. They can consist of sketches , pictures, screen shots, PowerPoint presentations, or sample application outputs. In a passive storyboard, the analyst plays the role of the system and simply walks the user through the storyboard, with a "When you do this, this happens" explanation.
Active storyboards try to make the user see "a movie that hasn't actually been produced yet." Active storyboards are animated or automated, perhaps by an automatically sequencing slide presentation, an animation tool, a recorded computer script or simulation, or even a homemade movie. Active storyboards provide an automated description of the way the system behaves in a typical usage or operational scenario.
Interactive storyboards let the user experience the system in as realistic a manner as practical. They require participation by the user. Interactive storyboards can be simulations or mock-ups or can be advanced to the point of throwaway code. An advanced, interactive storyboard built out of throwaway code can be very close to a throwaway prototype.
As Figure 13-1 shows, these three storyboarding techniques offer a continuum of possibilities ranging from sample outputs to live interactive demos. Indeed, the boundary between advanced storyboards and early product prototypes is a fuzzy one.
Figure 13-1. Storyboarding continuum
The choice of storyboarding technique will vary, based on the complexity of the system and the risk of the team's misunderstanding of what the system needs to do. An unprecedented or particularly innovative system that has abstract and fuzzy definitions may even require multiple storyboards, moving from passive to interactive as the team's understanding of the system improves .