Storyboards and Mockups

Storyboards and Mockups are planning tools used to develop and review new content before writing text. Like any tool, they should save time and improve quality to justify their use. They are closely related but distinctly different. Both are used to help writers plan, develop, and review key concepts before drafting text.

What’s the difference?

Storyboards are conceptual planning tools used to help writers plan each section before drafting text. They contain assignments, bid request requirements, win strategies, preliminary visuals, and some content. What is most valuable about storyboards is the discipline and process for PLANNING before writing – use of storyboards helps reduce re-work and waste.

Mockups are page-for-page representations and allocations of the actual pages in the finished proposal. Mockups contain the same elements as the draft, namely, headings, themes, visuals, action captions, and text. They transition writers from the storyboard to drafting. Annotating (detailing) mockups can also be a way to streamline proposal development.

Storyboards use words and graphics to outline a concept. When someone builds a house, the storyboard equivalent is a plan book that shows a sketch of the home accompanied by a short description. The mockup is equivalent to the floor plan, showing the allocation of space and the relationship of key elements to scale. See figure 1.

Figure 1. Like a Proposal, Home Builders Use Storyboards and Mockups for Planning and Design. The combination of text and graphics on the left is like a storyboard. Like a mockup, the floor plan allocates space and shows the relationships of major design elements to help manage the development.

Why should I use storyboards and mockups?

  1. Use storyboards to develop and review new proposal material and showcase strategy.
  2. Focus on the storyboarding process more than the actual tool selected.
  3. Use the core proposal team to prepare the storyboard; use the writers to develop the content.
  4. Make the storyboard a key proposal management tool – let it reinforce discipline.
  5. Use mockups to allocate space and simplify the writing task to reduce re-work and waste.
  6. Storyboard sequentially; mock up interactively as the proposal advances.
  7. Training writers and contributors to support storyboard and mockup discipline.
  8. Carefully manage the difficult transition from storyboarding to the section first draft.