People have always loved to read stories because stories find a way of engaging people, especially when the narrative revolves around real-life situations and events. Story maps are one of the advanced forms of visual storytelling in Google’s arsenal.
They are a great medium for presentation through maps, presenting information involving the target audience, and describing valuable, informative content apart from historical landmarks and restaurants near you.
What is a story map?
Story maps are a unique way of telling stories that combine the best of both the visual and text-based worlds. They help you engage your audience better, tell your story more naturally, and make your content more memorable.
The first thing to know about story maps is that they are not just for stories. They can be used for any content you would like to present visually.
The second thing to know about story maps is that they are not just for visual learners! Any audience can use story maps because they do not require any knowledge of complicated graphics or design software — all you need is an idea, some markers, and paper.
Story maps were developed by Dave Gray from XPLANE as part of his work advocating for “design thinking” techniques in business education programs. He hoped that these graphic organizers would help students think critically about how to organize information visually and textually — two critical skills for anyone who wants to succeed in today’s fast-changing world.
How to Create a Story Map
To create an effective story map, you’ll need to identify the key events in your product or service that make it unique, then describe each one in detail. These events will then form the basis for your story map.
Here are some tips for creating a compelling story map:
Choose the topic of the story.
Before creating a story map, you need to know what topic you want to map out. Think about what problem or question you want to answer with this data visualization. Is it about sales figures? Or it’s about the process involved in delivering customer support. Once you have an idea of what you want to represent on your story map, it will be easier for you to choose which type of chart or graph would work best with your data.
Plan your data strategy and execute it
Make sure that you have all the information needed for your story map. This includes data, text, images, video, and audio clips. This can be done by creating a list of questions and answers or a mind map. Take note that the more available data sources you have, the better it is to make an accurate story map.
Inform readers about what they need to do to understand your content better by using clear labels, headings, and subtitles. It’s also best to use consistent formatting throughout your story map so that readers can easily navigate through it without looking at it too closely (i.e., font type and size).
Try out different templates.
Before creating a story map, look at some templates that have already been created. These templates will give you an idea of how others have used story maps and what works well for them. You can also use these templates as examples of how not to do it! It’s always good to learn from other people’s mistakes so that you don’t make them yourself!
Keep things simple
When creating a story map template, keep things simple! Don’t try too hard with fancy fonts or colors; keep it simple and easy on the eyes so that people can focus on reading and understanding your content rather than being distracted by what font is used or if it appears too busy.
Personalize your story map
When creating a story map, it’s important to reflect your brand’s personality. It should not look like something created by someone else or someone who isn’t familiar with your brand. Dress it up by adding some color; maybe even adding some photos from a recent event or product launch will help bring more life into the presentation of the story map.
Dress up your story map
Themes and colors are essential aspects of storytelling and should also be considered when creating a story map. To ensure that your audience understands your story’s message, you must choose colors and themes that complement each other. For example, if you’re going with a black-and-white theme for a horror movie, then all elements in the story should have these colors included. Alternatively, if you’re creating an upbeat comedy film, then bright colors such as yellow and orange will help create the mood needed for this type of movie.
Think outside of the box
A story map is similar to an outline but with a few differences. An outline has only one level of the hierarchy; it’s just a list from top-to-bottom with no indentation or grouping. But you can use multiple levels of hierarchy in a story map by indenting each level and grouping related elements together, so they’re easier to organize. This will make it easier for others reading through your document to see where each part fits in with the rest of the project. You can also create subheadings within each main section, which will help readers find information quickly when they’re looking for specific details about something specific in their project.
Takeaway – Final Thoughts
The key takeaway from this article is the common mistakes that the business team should avoid to create effective story maps. When creating your story map, ensure to think of your audience and what they want to see on your story map. Just like in writing content, clarity is essential in a story map. Get rid of any unnecessary elements. Simplicity always wins when it comes to storytelling.