multimedia authoring: exploring the new rhetorics
engl 355 fall 2006
mock professional website

The Storyboard
A storyboard is the blueprint for a web project. It is a simple, flexible tool which can be used to display the elements on a single Web page such as images, banners, navigation, graphic elements and text. It is also an excellent tool for presenting a project to clients.

Purpose of a WebsSite Storyboard
The purpose of a website storyboard is threefold.
1. It serves as an outline of the design approach.
2. It defines the elements that need to go on each page.
3. It shows the navigational architecture and information flow to the team and demonstrates how the pages are to work together to provide the user’s interactive experience.

Types of Storyboards
The storyboard for the site should provide an abstract picture or conceptual design of the Web site, which allows the Web producer and the client to see what the site will contain and how it will be organized. Three types of storyboards are detailed below.

Presentation storyboard. Used to demonstrate visualization of the site and solidify the design model; can be compared to an architectural sketch of a new home. On completion of the presentation storyboard, project management should have a clear conceptual framework from which to begin executing the actual design. Once the initial design is approved, the presentation storyboard can be used to create an execution plan. This is the type of storyboard required for the next assignment.

Production storyboard.
Used by production teams to present a clear picture of what will be happening throughout the entire site, what each page will look like, and what each team member/developer will do. This document would be the blueprint and materials list needed for building the house. The production storyboard contains detailed information on graphics, text, video, sound, audience interaction, color, type fonts, type size, etc. This is the blueprint for creating all elements of the Web site, as well as the storage place for page templates, production notes, and an online journal of decisions and deadlines. The production storyboard contains instructions for everything necessary for team members involved in production to do their jobs. Your team should keep a production storyboard up to date as the project continues.

Maintenance storyboard. Used by the production team to present a clear picture of what parts of the site will need to be updated or maintained, as well as what parts of the Web site that should be left alone or modified by a professional. This is the plan for site upkeep, such as performing homeowner maintenance. In your final report on this project, you should include some ideas on how the project your have completed should be maintained. If it seems like a good idea, a maintenance storyboard could be part of this final report.

What the Storyboard Should Contain
To create effective storyboards, it is not necessary to be a graphic designer. The objective is not to get the design just right. Instead try to define or identify the elements required for each page. Know how the pages fit into the grander architecture and navigation of the site, not from a technical standpoint, but from a functional, end-user standpoint. The functional specification and the site map should help establish this information. Project directors will more likely be the ones with the best understanding of the project specifications and they should be aware of how all the elements (i.e., content, design, programming, etc.) are progressing and how they will work together to provide the final result. They will also brief the design team on what tasks need to be completed. For these reasons, it is beneficial for the project director to be closely involved with the creation of the storyboards, and ideally working with an information architect and designer.

The storyboard for this project must be designed to present to a large group (this class). The class will act as a prospective audience for the project. The storyboard illustration should include:
*A flowchart depicting the opening screen and the major sections of the Web site.
*A description of the text that will be placed on each major page of the Web site.
*A description of graphic images that belong on each page.
*The navigational tools and their location.
*The cross-links to all of the information contained on the Web site.
*The external links to other Web sites.
*The color scheme of the Web site.

Storyboard Checklist

A storyboard can be used to provide the details of an entire Web site by outlining the hierarchy or architecture of a site. Below is a suggested checklist of questions to consider when planning the Website project. This list is to be used as a starting point only when evaluating the components of the Web site.

*Does the site design contain numerous links on every page in an effort to keep everything “just a click away?” Can they be better organized?
*Is the navigation weak? Are there few basic links that then lead to hundreds of wandering links? Do the elements need to be reorganized?
*Does the navigation make sense? Will viewers be able to find their way to the information they want if they follow the links provided?
*Have links been grouped logically?
*Are there gratuitous pages added: links that lead to another page of links?
*Is there a way back to the dominant section or home page from the subsections or do viewers have to use the “back” button on their browsers?

Site Structure
*Given the complexity of the site is it necessary to add a Web site map?
*Are other referral elements such as an index needed? Table of contents? Glossary?
*Are there too many forms that basically perform the same function? Can they be consolidated?
*Is the site balanced or does the site contain just one really good page located in a virtual ghost town?
*Is the site overloaded with graphics? Are they necessary? Are they annoying? Do they go with the content?
*Does the site start with a strong graphic presence, only to putter out once further into the site?
*Given the number of graphics anticipated per page and per section, are visitors forced to survive the longest downloads on those pages which are utilized most frequently?
*Are graphics taking over the page? Does the content get relegated to a tiny visual space?

* Is the “meat” of the content hidden too deep into the site to be found?
* Is the content being updated most frequently easy to get to?
*Are there repeating content elements, such as department Rolodexes that would be better combined into one section.
*Are there too many “under constructions” flags?
*Is there too much pointless content, fluff, or dry reading in a more dynamic section? *Is there enough technical information in those areas where it is warranted?
*Does the content logically flow within the section? Between sections?
*If providing a Web site as a means of answering questions, have questions been answered or are viewers required to email or call for more assistance?
*Can the site be created as envisioned or is it too ambitious an undertaking?

An excellent web source for creating storyboards can be found at