Collaborative GUI Design with Storyboard Suite

Embedded application projects usually involve a team of people, rather than a solitary jack-of-all-trades super designer* seeing an entire project through to completion. With traditional linear methodologies taking a backseat to more agile and lean models, features and functionality are often developed in parallel, rather than in an assembly line fashion. While having a team of designers and developers has many advantages, including making it easier to hit tight deadlines, having multiple hands in the files introduces technical complexities.

Team Collaboration for better design with Storyboard Suite

Right Tools for the Job

From a technology perspective, source control systems do a great job of storing and versioning files, but often lack sophisticated merge and compare capabilities. When it comes to merging different versions of files from across a team, the ability to visually review and incorporate changes in the same tool where you design and development allows for rapid comparisons and merges. It also allows designers to quickly see the impact of design changes from other team members.

Check out this video to see how a team can collaborate in Storyboard Suite.

Storyboard Suite Manages a Collaboration GUI Design Lifecycle

Using a collaborative approach, the graphic designer can create the initial UI and import the images into Storyboard Designer. The embedded UI developer can then start on attaching actions and events to the imported files. Design change is inevitable, so the designer can continue evolving the UI while the embedded engineer is adding complexity to the underlying software foundation of the product. By using the collaboration features within Storyboard Designer, designers can compare changes and merge the individual components they require. This collaborative process leads to a final application that is a product of the best of the skillsets of the entire team.

*Super Designer – The world’s most unlikely, yet awesome, Superhero

GUI Design and Development with Storyboard Suite: Now Free for Students

Free Storyboard Suite Licenses for StudentsHere at Crank, we dream of a universe full of awesome application GUIs. Where students – brimming with innovative ideas and bursting with creativity – aren’t limited by lacklustre software tools. We want all designers, regardless of where they are in their careers, to have the best tools possible to help them bring their ideas to life.

Students are often limited by software tools that are free or cheap.
Tuition, rent, tech gear, books, pizza, parties*…
We’ve been there. It wasn’t THAT long ago that we were students. We know that at the end of the day there isn’t much left in the budget to buy great GUI design software.

Crank Software Academic Program – Supporting Innovation in Creative GUI Design

That’s why we are launching the Crank Software Academic Program and offering FREE Storyboard Suite licenses to students and teachers. We are committed to supporting students and their schools, to help build a future workforce of skilled embedded application designers. This means better career opportunities for students when they graduate, and a strong future for the embedded market.

Building Multi-market Applications with Storyboard Suite

From automotive, to washing machines, mighty industrial machines, and more; Storyboard Suite makes embedded design and development faster and easier.

Working on a really cool GUI for an automotive infotainment system? Other students have used Storyboard Suite to create an award-winning infotainment system. Check out the EcoCar2 from Mississippi State University.

Build awesome things and tell us about it. We love seeing HMI designs that change how we interact with our world.

Participating in the program is pretty simple.
Check out the Academic Program webpage for more information.

*Crank Software does not endorse “parties”, but we definitely support your quest for good pizza.

Connecting your GUI with the Embedded System with Storyboard IO

Whether an application is destined for a car, washing machine, medical device, or fitness tracker; one thing remains the same: the user interface has to be able to communicate with the target device.

An application can be elegant and beautiful in GUI design, but it isn’t terribly useful if it can’t send and receive data from the embedded system. (It would be about as useful as the Commodore 64 my parents bought me when I was 10 years old, without getting me a storage device. Hello, World!, Goodbye, World. But I digress…)

Use Storyboard IO to connect your embedded system to your user interface

So, how do I communicate between my embedded system and my graphical user interface (GUI)?

When we talk to designers and developers and show them how fast and easy it is to create GUIs with Storyboard Designer, one of the first questions we get is, “That’s impressive, Dude, but can Storyboard communicate with the embedded system?” Storyboard Suite is way more than an awesome UI authoring tool. It’s a tool suite that allows designers to design and engineers to code — in parallel. Part of the functionality we’ve built in Storyboard for engineers is Storyboard IO (SBIO), a platform independent API that provides communication between the embedded system and the application. Storyboard Suite keeps the UI and the system logic separate, so that the design can evolve and iterate throughout the development process without negatively impacting the system, and SBIO provides the channel that brings it all together.

But that’s enough reading, check out this short video to learn more about Storyboard IO.

We are also working on an in-depth video that showcases the technical functionality of Storyboard IO, so If you haven’t subscribed to the Crank Software YouTube channel yet, you should, because you don’t want to miss it.


Creating GUIs for the Connected Home with Storyboard Suite and Freescale

This past Spring Crank Software participated in a project with Freescale (and other fine Freescale partners) to deliver the ultimate connected home experience at Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) 2015.

There can be a wide variety of devices and sensors communicating data in today’s connected home. So how do we visualize all of that data?

IoT Connected Home Freescale Crank Software

How do we best help home owners interact with all of the information coming from their homes, without turning the promise of convenience into an overwhelming and inconvenient reality? The answer is iterative user experience design, teamwork, and flexible tools.

The Crank and Freescale teams collaborated to deliver a solid user experience and stunning, intuitive visuals for the FTF 2015 connected home. Using Crank Storyboard Suite, the teams were able to design a GUI that could provide home owners the ability to manage temperature, monitor and control security, maximize energy savings, control lights and appliances, and even…

…wait for it…

…make coffee. Well, not robotically deliver coffee. Yet.

While I continue to sit here daydreaming about coffee magically showing up on my desk on-demand, you go ahead and watch this awesome video from Freescale, that takes you on a tour through the connected home application from FTF 2015.

Why use Storyboard Suite to design GUIs for the connected home?

The best home automation interfaces are designed with users in mind. Simplicity is key, but intuitive and easy-to-use GUIs require elegant design, exhaustive testing, and multiple iterations – which can be time intensive (and expensive). Designing with Storyboard Suite allows teams to keep UX and UI designers engaged in the entire development process, resulting in systems that are finely tuned and highly functional, without dragging out timelines. Built-in collaboration tools in Storyboard also allow multiple designers and developers to work in parallel and merge designs without impacting quality or creating a fragmented user experience. This can dramatically reduce development cycles and speed time to market.


Walk-through of the Storyboard Suite Embedded Application GUI Demos at FTF 2015

While we were at Freescale Technology 2015, we shared several photos of the various Storyboard Suite embedded application GUI demos. We also posted a (very) quick look at an IoT demo designed with Storyboard Suite for a connected home.

Thanks to our friends at Freescale, we now have a more in-depth video of Crank Software VP, Jason Clarke, showcasing all of the application demos at FTF featuring Storyboard Suite. Check out this more thorough look at the connected home application.

Smart homes lend convenience to busy households. Well-designed home automation interfaces allow homeowners to interact with and control their homes in ways that maximize convenience and savings.

If those demos leave you itching to test drive the new Storyboard Suite 4.1 for your next well-designed user interface, download the 30-day full featured evaluation version today.