In the age of the Internet, I've learned to love communications: charts, spreadsheets, data, and pictures. They all play a role in helping me carry out consulting projects without leaving the comfort of my home in Keystone, Colorado. This is one reason I explored the business possibilities of StoryPages ($2.99; app2.me/2388).
Traditionally, storyboards are graphic organizers such as a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, and other media-related activities. Storyboarding is relatively new to the business field, but I've noticed a number of firms mimicking screenwriters and film producers to more effectively communicate ideas, plans, and new programs. A former Facebook executive, Netanel "Net" Jacobsson writes…
"Since most businesses are like a developing story, wouldn't it be easier to use the storyboard as an example of visualizing you business plan? We all love stories … most good businesses have a good story to tell. Why not try to tell that story as you see it develop over time on a storyboard?"
It's not surprising to see this trend emerging in funding, marketing, and operational settings. A recent 3M research study (strategicstoryboarding.com/storyboarding-techniques-to-make-smart-decisions) reveals people process images sixty thousand times faster than with words alone. Instant problem solving with visual thinking, organizational charts, process maps, and diagrams help you create faster, deeper understanding.
Recently, a client asked me to point out potential problems with the content of her company's blog. As a test of its potential, I created a storyboard of my analysis. It took just a few minutes in a coffee shop to create it and e-mail it to the client as a PDF—all from within the app. This experience validated my feeling that there are many cases where mobile professionals and managers might be able to benefit with this tool.
One of the nice features about this app is the way it leverages the iPhone's ability to capture screenshots and photos; they can be used as the background of a drawing. In my test case, I captured screenshots of problematic issues as they appeared, using the iPhone's Safari browser. The ability to capture zoomed areas of Web pages made it easy to focus on issues I wanted to discuss with my client.
I imported each of the screenshots into StoryPages and then used different colored pens to circle the areas that need improvement. The only drawback to this is that the screened images appear as faint background images—less colorful and more difficult to see than the actual image. I would like a foreground image feature incorporated into the app.
Many uses for storyboarding
With StoryPages and a camera, it's possible to document real-world situations and script them with typed or drawn notes. There are many possible uses for this tool: quality assurance, business process documentation, and business successes and failures. Capturing reality and annotating it to tell a story is so much more effective than other methods of communicating. StoryPages provides a framework for streamlining the process. I was also able to use StoryPages with Dragon Dictation (free; app2.me/111), speeding up the process of adding annotations.
Mobile storyboarding is a new idea, but it's one that seems to bring some new opportunities to help people understand things that are typically difficult to communicate in traditional mediums.