I’ve always loved Visual Studio as an IDE not just because how easy it has made designing solutions and writing the code but since the past few releases how easy it has made end to end application lifecycle management with the set of comprehensive tools (coupled with TFS) that it provides. Visual Studio 2012 has recently added another feather in the cap by introducing the storyboarding feature to that toolset.
Storyboarding and Wireframes are a great way to help your users envision the finished product. While there were quite a few tools already available to create wireframes and storyboards, most of them were either paid or provided very limited functionality. I personally used photo editing software in the early years and later tools like Visio and more recently Balsamiq came in very handy. Nothing however comes close to the ease of using a tool that comes bundled and integrated with your favorite development apparatus (not to mention that you don’t have to shell out extra money to buy one).
Visual Studio 2012 now enables you to very efficiently create wireframes and storyboards using the familiarity of PowerPoint. The storyboarding capability gets installed (as an add-in for PowerPoint) with the “Test Professional”, Premium or Ultimate editions of Visual Studio 2012. Once installed, you can open PowerPoint Storyboarding by :
- Using the Visual Studio Menu (Start –> All Programs –> Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 –> PowerPoint Storyboarding) OR
- Directly opening PowerPoint and choosing the “Storyboarding” tab in the ribbon bar (you will need to click on the “Storyboard Shapes” menu item to see the shapes) OR
- Via the specific work item in team web access (I haven’t personally tried it but more on it here)