There are many ways to describe an application idea. The simplest and shortest is the elevator pitch, the most complicated is a length wireframe.
In this class, we use two one-page visual forms: the product box and the four-panel storyboard.
The product box is often used when creating physical products. You describe your idea by showing how it might be packaged for sale. What would be on the box to attract someone to try this product?
The key components of a product box are:
- A screenshot that makes clear what your app does and why you'd want it. This will often be the same as your payoff screenshot in Panel 3 of your four-panel storyboard.
- Two to four bullet points, describing what value to you, the potential buyer, your product brings. Use direct clear language, like "Find new places to eat!" Avoid dry descriptions of functionality, like "A user can search for places to eat."
Create a four-panel storyboard. Be visual but don't get hung up on art. Grab clip art and photos from the web. Focus on developing a believable story of the app delivering value to a user in some situation.
The most critical element is Panel 3. Panel 3 should be the largest. It should not need a lot of text. The screenshot should speak for itself. The mockup screenshot should give a clear view of a specific app screen (mockup) delivering the payoff to the user.
The four-panel storyboard is designed to accomplish two goals:
- Show a potential user (or investor) how this product delivers value, with a concrete example.
- Show developers what is the very first thing to build.
Common mistakes with Panel 3:
- Showing input forms where users enter search or profile or filter options. No one ever bought an app because they wanted to fill in forms. This is friction, not payoff.
- Showing generic icons of graphs and lists and such. These are just vague promises to users. These are completely useless for the developers.
The Nurse's Aide example shows what a good Panel 3 has. The screenshot has specific data. A nurse could tell if this makes sense right away. A developer would know what to build, at least for the data and display, right way.
Less is more. Apple's Apple Watch ads manage to show a payoff scene in less than 10 seconds, with no words at all.
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