2.1 Review: Making and testing methodologies

The information in this section is a reflection on the work created during the Design Phase of the project.

What methods are you using?

The overall making and testing approach is Agile which is completely in line with the most current version of the Design Council’s Double Diamond framework.

The project is a collaboration between the scriptwriter and illustrator. Miro (an interactive digital whiteboard), was used as the primary way to share information.

The Design phase consisted of a number of short experiments, where the objective was to test and learn rapidly. Outputs were shared and tested and learnings incorporated back into the design.

The work to date used the following making methodologies:

  • Storyboarding – The script was turned into a 60-page storyboard in order to assess whether it would translate into comic format and whether additonal work was required to the overall structure and pacing of the story.
  • Story mapping – Used the Fabula Storytelling Map and John Yorke’s 10 questions to better understand story structure and character motivation.
  • Prototyping – Was used to create a mock-up and test one section of the book containing most of the design patterns needed to go into production.
  • Models – A 3D modelling app was use to provide figure reference.
  • Collaboration – Used Miro to create and share ideas visually and interactively.

The testing methodology used Zoom interviews and email to engage users/readers in fairly ad hoc reviews of individual pages and/or design mock-up.

Have they restricted or advanced the development of your project?

Using an experimental approach deliberately restricts the amount of work by focusing on small manageable and easily deliverable chunks; The way to test and learn what works is by rapidly ‘doing’.

This in turn advances the development of the project by accelerating the delivery of real things into the hands of readers to test, thereby cutting out as much wasted effort as possible.

Using storyboarding, story mapping, prototyping and collaboration are all tools used as part of an agile approach.

Are they telling you what you need to know? What have you found out?

Storyboarding– Provided a macro view of pacing and rhythm of the narrative
– Made me do a large amount of location research and design upfront saving time and effort in Production
– Gave a solid base to discuss/build upon
– Made the project real and gave confidence that this is doable
– Gave an indication of the size of the book (and of the work)
– Helped me to develop characters
Story mapping– Gave me a framework to assess the characters and plot and allowed me to ask meaningful questions about the script and identify potential gaps.
– Gave me a way to understand character motivation.
– Helped me understand basic concepts about story arc
PrototypingAn excellent way to test the design including:
– Layout – micro rhythm and pacing
– Readability
– Visual style(s)
– Use of colour
– Use of text/lettering
Models– I find drawing figures from imagination difficult and 3D modelling provided a relatively quick and effective way to get figure reference
Collaboration – The project wouldn’t have started without the collaboration with a scriptwriter
– Using a tool like Miro allowed us to make rapid progress, sharing ideas in real time even though we were physically based in different continents

Have you also tested your proposal with your audience?

Yes. The whole approach is based on the hypothesis that getting ‘real’ work into the hands of readers/users is the best/quickest way to learn.

Could your project be enhanced by also making a more ambitious proposition outcome, which you’re unable to make due to material, technical or financial restraints?

No. The main constraint with this project is time.

Are you nearing the end of your making and testing stage or do you need another cycle?

The Design phase has ended. I now have enough knowledge to create the design toolkit to take into Production.

That is not to say that experimentation or design has ended, because there will be new design requirements that only become apparent during production.

Do you need to alter your proposal?


Now that I’ve produced a number of completed pages I can estimate my velocity (the average number of pages I can complete in a week), and will not have enough time to complete the full 60-page book in the time I have available.

The change in direction is analysed in Review manifesto and project plan.


AgileAgile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.
The Design Council’s Double Diamond frameworkA design framework that describes a typical design process
Fabula Story MappingFabula Story Mapping is a framework that helps you analyse, organise and build stories in the most effective way.
MiroAn interactive digital collaboration tool
John Yorke’s 10 questionsJohn Yorke’s 10 Questions are used by top TV writers all over the UK to unlock and refine their stories
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