Time required:

30-60 min

Number of participants:

By yourself or in the team your are working


Printed poster (A3)


Brian Frandsen


Want to hear more about 5 Step Storyboarding
– Use storytelling as prototype?

Want to hear more about 5 Step Storyboarding
– Use storytelling as prototype?

Even if you think you have a great idea, a fantastic concept, or an infallible solution, your target audience might not agree. It is important to test your ideas both early and often to ensure they hit the mark, especially when dealing with complex challenges. Here, you will find a superb tool for quickly creating a prototype of an idea or solution that can be used in testing situations with both users and other stakeholders.

Prototyping is about getting the test informant to imagine what it would be like to be in a future where what you propose exists. The prototype should therefore be designed based on the situation you are testing and focused on what you are interested in investigating. Storyboards are particularly suitable for this, as they are a fantastic way to unfold your proposed solution, concept, or idea through the eyes of the target audience. Those who will use or experience your idea and solution will always experience it over time – whether that being five minutes, a second, or several days, it will always be relevant to consider the solution in a specific context and timeline.

How to Use the Tool:

  1. Discuss in the group what you are curious to test. What hypotheses in the proposed solution or idea do you want to confirm or disprove? Is it the value your solution creates? The price? The problem? The concept? etc. If you have created a pre-concept, you can base your investigation on the curiosities you have noted down.
  2. Based on what you want to investigate and test, begin to tell the story of how the solution or concept unfolds from the perspective of the target audience through five steps.
  3. Start by filling in the first step and the last step in the storyboard. Remember that drawings/pictures/visualizations give the user a much quicker overview of the story than text. How does the target audience/user first encounter your idea/solution? When does the encounter with the idea/solution end?
  4. Then fill in what happens between the start and end.
  5. If the prototype is to be used to test the concept or idea internally within your organization or with a customer, where it is useful to connect the user’s experience with the activities that create the experience for the user/target audience, you can describe those steps below the storyboard.

Remember, the prototype should help the user/informant immerse themselves in your solution and provide feedback based on their personal perception of how it is experienced – so make it clear, easily readable, and to the point.

Bonus Info: It is no coincidence that this storyboard has exactly 5 steps. Humans are biologically hardwired to distinguish five elements from each other at a time. When we exceed five elements, we automatically start grouping the elements to better remember and comprehend them. Therefore, it is good to stay under five elements when testing concepts to ensure that informants can grasp the whole you are inquiring about. This is also a good rule of thumb in various other contexts, such as in presentations, graphic products, or the number of options on a menu, etc.

Example in use

Other tools and methods:

  • Speeddating your user while making personas

    When it's not possible for you to talk directly with your user, you might invite them on an imaginative date?

    Speeddating your user while making personas

  • Thing of the Future – A Speculative Warm-Up

    Go to the future to challenge your assumptions, biases and suspend your inner critical voice, by using this tool originally designed by Stuart Candy

    Thing of the Future – A Speculative Warm-Up

  • Give shape to your idea – The Pre Concept

    Create Pre-Concepts for your early ideas to better assess what will work and what needs further development.

    Give shape to your idea – The Pre Concept

  • Make brainstorming easy and fun: Brainstorm Sudoku

    The Brainstorm Sudoku helps you frame your brainstorming session and guides you to quickly generate a larger pool of more creative ideas to choose from.

    Make brainstorming easy and fun: Brainstorm Sudoku