What Storyboards Do


Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first animated movie ever produced, used storyboards, and they are still routinely used as an integral part of the creative process in movies and cartoons. They represent the raw creative input used to develop the characters and the story line.

In software, storyboards are used most often to work through the details of the human-to-machine interface. In this area, generally one of high volatility, each user is likely to have a different opinion of how the interface should work. Storyboards for user -based systems deal with the three essential elements of any activity:

  1. Who the players are

  2. What happens to them

  3. How it happens

The who element defines the players, or the users of the system. In a software system, as we discussed earlier, the who are such players as users, other systems, or devices ”in other words they are the actors that interact with the solution system we are defining. For users, the interaction is typically described via user input screens or data entry forms, outputs such as data or reports , or other types of input and output devices, such as buttons , switches, displays, and monitors . For devices and systems, interaction will be performed via a software or hardware interface, such as a communication protocol or motor controller drive signal.

The what element represents the behavior of the users as they interact with the system as well as the behavior of the system as it interacts with the user. The how element provides descriptions of how this interaction happens, showing events, states, and state transitions.

For example, we once created a storyboard for an automated-vehicle amusement park ride.

  • The who represented the guests who ride on the vehicle.

  • The what represented the behavior of the vehicle as it provided various events for the guests.

  • The how provided further descriptions of how this interaction happens ”events, state transitions ”and described both the guest states (surprised, scared) and the vehicle states (accelerating, braking, unloading).


Managing Software Requirements[c] A Use Case Approach
Managing Software Requirements[c] A Use Case Approach
ISBN: 032112247X
Year: 2003
Pages: 257

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