storyboard images on an orange background

About storyboards

April 13, 2018

Images help give a shared understanding of customer experience and are enormously helpful to tell your persona’s story. A storyboard is a valuable feature of journey maps and helps to empathize more intensively with your persona.

Why should we add a storyboard to our journey maps?

Images help you to quickly identify a step’s content or actions. They help to empathize with your personas and the experiences they have along the customer journey. Also, an image can explain a situation in a more comprehensible way than long text explanations, it can quickly and clarifies certain circumstances. It takes humans much less time to perceive a picture than to read and understand text. Also, images make it easier to navigate faster. Summed up, images let you gain deeper insights into experiences.

What images are the most valuable?

There are diverse types of images you can use for a storyboard.

  • real photos of certain situations or places
  • screenshots of documents or interfaces
  • sketches

How professional your images need to be depends on who you present your journey maps to. If the journey map is for internal use only, sketches might be enough for people to understand what it is about. If you want to pitch your journey map to clients, more professional and clean images might be the right choice.

In general a rough sketch is better than no image at all.

However avoid content and visualizations that don’t help you meet these goals, e.g. too detailed images that cost you much time to interpret. It should be visible at one glimpse what the images wants to tell.


We’ve created some example journey maps that make use of different types of storyboards.

Check out the example journey maps

For Smaply users: about Smaply’s storyboard images

In Smaply you have different options to include images. First, you can add your own images to journey maps by uploading them or re-using images you’ve already added to other maps or projects. Second, you can make use of the Smaply storyboard images that illustrate different situations e.g., having a holiday, using different devices, talking to others, doing shopping, etc. Finally, an integration to the Noun Project – a well-known curated collection of symbols created by a global community of illustrators and designers – makes it easy for you to choose from a great variety of icons and pictograms.

Create your journey map with Smaply