Storytelling is a design tool

whitney quesenbery on a panel discussion about storytelling

Tonight I attended a panel discussion about Storytelling for User Experience with Whitney Quesenbery, Andrew Merryweather, Karina Van Schaardenburg and Julia Goga-Cooke (moderation) and it was great – so here are a few quick notes/quotes from it I’d love to share:

First, you have to know I’m a big advocate for using storytelling methods in design work e.g for developing future visions of a service / product or presenting design or communicating research. Storytelling is the process of using facts and narrative to communicate our thoughts and ideas to a team. It’s very beneficial for UX work simply because stories are more memorable than tons of research datasheets or abstract use cases, boring list or diagrams.

Ok here are the quotes:
This is actually an analogy I love from Whitney Quesenbery: „(…) journey maps are the landscape and personas are the characters“ – it also reminds me a bit on Kim Goodwins metaphor of the persona as the hero in the story (which is the future Scenario)

And here’s a reply to that I loved:

yesss!!, i'm also using this metaphor. every brand is like a planet with its citizens, different landscapes and a its own ecosystem. so think about why do people stay on this planet? why do they leave? where would they like to go? (a bit like the jetsons)

— katharina (@k____k____) February 2, 2021

Andrew Merryweather shared an Idea regarding one question from the audience how to communicate stories of future scenarios I liked a lot: „(..) One team recorded a 2min video focusing totally on the users experience and not the content on the screen Status quo (failing) vs. future (succeeding)

Whitney Quesenbery mentioned that „(…)Stories in UX give your work impact and help people see the visions you see for a service/product“ and „(…) stories put a face on information and help understand / communicate future scenarios“ which I totally agree with

She also said something that I mention in my class on „Bridging the research design gap“ quite often: „Stories make insights from data memorable“ – yesyesyes, I couldn’t agree more, maybe I share something about that topic also soon here (top secret hint well its about these often scorned personas / user models)

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