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Tell Me What You Do: How Storytelling Makes You a Better Designer

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As design asks for a larger seat at the table and works to foster a culture of customer-centered design-thinking, we must better communicate our process and value to others who don't understand this mysterious power of UX. Storytelling is a great way to do that.

Despite the fact that we talk a lot about story in UX, we have trouble putting it into practice, especially our own stories.

This talk recasts our design process as story, making it more impactful and relatable to others. We discuss the uses of story in UX, provide a visual map of the UX story framework (UXStoryWheel), and demonstrate a few simple story patterns.

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Tell Me What You Do: How Storytelling Makes You a Better Designer

  1. TELL ME WHAT YOU DO How Storytelling Makes You 
 a Better Designer MARY WHARMBY UX Design Director, Spring Studio @marywharmby | #uxstorywheel Presented to UXPA 2015 San Diego, CA
  2. THE SET-UP AKA The Hook ACT I
  3. UX What… Huh? ?
  4. Why? But… Zzzzz Huh? UX
  5. Wow! …and then… Fun… Cool!
  6. RULE OF THE ROAD #1 People will hear a story whether you tell it or not. Tell the story you want people to hear #uxstorywheel
  7. 2. Trigger/ Call to Action THE HERO’S 
 JOURNEY 3. Gaining Awareness 1. Before State 6. Return Changed 5. Ultimate Test 4. Tests & Failures Abyss Death & Rebirth
  8. RULE OF THE ROAD #2 Building on Campbell’s Hero’s Journey makes our UX stories more impactful and relatable to others. #uxstorywheel
  9. ACT II THE UXer’s 
 JOURNEY UX Story Wheel
  10. UX Story Wheel
  11. UX Story Wheel Needs Goals Outcomes Obstacles Delights
  12. UX Story Wheel Trigger Challenge Awareness Design Intervention Outcome
  13. UX Story Wheel User World Trigger Challenge Awareness Design Intervention Outcome
  14. UX Story Wheel User World Stakeholders You Teams Project World BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY Design Intervention
  15. UX Story Wheel User World You Project World Design Intervention
  16. RULE OF THE ROAD #3 The UXer’s Journey means simultaneously keeping a foot in both the user story AND the project story. #uxstorywheel
  17. UX Story Wheel User World Project World Design Intervention
  18. 1 3 UX Story Wheel User World Project World Measure Results Understand the Problem 2Design Intervention Build a Solution
  19. UX Story Wheel User World Project World Hear the user’s story Tell the user’s story Envision a 
 new user’s story 3 1 Understand the Problem 2Design Intervention
  20. UX Story Wheel Tell the 
 user a 
 new story Build a new experience User World Project World 1 Build a Solution 2 3 Design Intervention
  21. UX Story Wheel User World Get a reaction Learn the right lessons Project World 3 Measure Results 2 1 Design Intervention
  22. RULE OF THE ROAD #4 Your design PROCESS is your UX story PLOT. #uxstorywheel
  23. UX Story Wheel User World Stakeholders Project World You 1 3 2Design Intervention
  24. Bridge Design Artifact UX Story Wheel User World Stakeholders Project World You 1 3 2
  25. Personas
 Journey Maps Flows Analytics UX Story Wheel User World You Project World 1 3 2 Wireframes Prototypes & Product IA
  26. Personas
 Journey Maps Flows IA Wireframes Prototypes & Product Analytics UX Story Wheel User World Project World 1 3 2 You
  27. User World User UX Story Wheel Project World Bridge Design Artifact You
  28. User UX Story Wheel Current Journey User Goals & Needs Opportunities Personas & Journey Maps Project World Bridge Design Artifact You Product Vision Business Needs Roadmap / Next Steps User World
  29. User UX Story Wheel Product Vision Business Needs Roadmap / Next Steps Project World Bridge Design Artifact You Personas & Journey Maps Current Journey User Goals & Needs Opportunities User World
  30. Ground each artifact story in BOTH the user and project stories. RULE OF THE ROAD #5 #uxstorywheel
  31. ACT III THE UX-FILES Tell Me What You Do
  32. UX Story Wheel 3 Story Patterns Buddy
 Story Lessons 
 Story Detective 
 Story Project World User World 1 2 3
  33. DETECTIVE Story Pattern
  34. PHASEAUDIENCEGOAL Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders Detective Story Understand the Problem Empathize with User Give Meaning to Info Set Common Vision Buddy Story Build a Solution Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders Lessons 1 2 3 Measure Results Your Team Stakeholders Other Teams Foster Teamwork Motivate Remember Vision Understand Reflect Set New Vision
  35. The Case of the User and the ATM Detective Story Pattern
  36. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Other Teams Stakeholders UX Users Understand the Problem 1 Detective Story Set-Up
  37. UX Story Wheel Project World Trigger Hypothesize & Plan Investigate Stakeholders What, how, why? Hmm… UX Detective Story Act I - Question User World
  38. UX Story Wheel Hypothesize & Plan Investigate Follow Leads Setbacks & Pivots UX Doh! Detective Story Act II - Investigation Project World User World
  39. UX Story Wheel Hypothesize & Plan Investigate Follow Leads Setbacks & Pivots Aha! Eureka Moment! UX Detective Story Act II - Investigation Project World User World
  40. UX Story Wheel Findings Brief UX Detective Story Act III - Big Reveal Project World User World
  41. UX Story Wheel Findings Brief UX Detective Story Epilogue - Outcome Project World User World Other Teams Yay! Stakeholders Onward!
  42. Detective Story Pattern UX Story Wheel Question Investigation Big Reveal Outcome Trigger/ Awareness Tests & Failures Epic Struggle Return Changed
  43. Detective Story Bridge UX Story Wheel Other Teams Stakeholders Project World User World UX Findings Brief User
  44. RULE OF THE ROAD #6 Keep it human (centered). 
 The more personal a story, the more universally relatable. #uxstorywheel
  45. RULE OF THE ROAD #7 Baby, don’t fear the pivots… 
 Setbacks and false leads make for moments of truth and triumph. Acknowledge them. #uxstorywheel
  46. BUDDY Story Pattern
  47. Detective Story Understand the Problem Buddy Story Build a Solution Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders Lessons 1 2 3 Measure Results Your Team Stakeholders Other Teams Empathize with User Give Meaning to Info Set Common Vision Foster Teamwork Motivate Remember Vision Understand Reflect Set New Vision Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders PHASEAUDIENCEGOAL
  48. Oceans of Change Orders Buddy Story Pattern
  49. UX Story Wheel Project World User World UX Other Vendors Our Team Client StakeholdersBuild a Solution 2 Buddy Story Set-Up
  50. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Buddy Story Act I - Unlikely Team Finish Line Our Team Other Vendors
  51. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Buddy Story Act II - Petty Rivalry Finish Line Our Team Other Vendors Petty Conflict Them! Us!
  52. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Buddy Story Act III - Bigger Adversary Finish Line Our Team Other Vendors Yikes! Ah-oh! Acts of God & Man
  53. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Buddy Story Epilogue - Super Team Finish Line Our Team Other Vendors User Hand-Offs Insight Hand-OffHero! Hero! Onward!
  54. Buddy Story Pattern UX Story Wheel Unlikely Team Petty 
 Rivalry Bigger Adversary Super 
 Team Trigger/ Awareness Tests & Failures Epic Struggle Return Changed
  55. UX Story Wheel Buddy Story Bridge Project World User World Wireframes UX User Everyone Else
  56. UX Story Wheel Buddy Story Bridge Wireframes Persona I love that! Persona Nice! Persona That’s just what I need!
  57. RULE OF THE ROAD #8 Everyone is on a hero’s journey. Recognize the other characters in your stories. #uxstorywheel
  58. RULE OF THE ROAD #9 Innovation is a risky adventure. 
 The outcome is unknown. Acknowledge risk in your stories. #uxstorywheel
  59. LESSONS Story Pattern
  60. Detective Story Understand the Problem Buddy Story Build a Solution Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders Lessons Story 1 2 3 Measure Results Your Team Stakeholders Other Teams Empathize with User Give Meaning to Info Set Common Vision Foster Teamwork Motivate Remember Vision Understand Reflect Set New Vision Your Team Other Teams Stakeholders PHASEAUDIENCEGOAL
  61. And, We Did It Our Way… Lessons Story Pattern
  62. UX Story Wheel User World Project World 1 2 Measure Results Understand the Problem Lessons Story Set-Up Build a Solution 3 Engineering Team Founders UX Caw!
  63. UX Story Wheel Project World User World 1 Lessons Story Act I - Before State ? ? Engineering Team Founders UX ?
  64. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Build a Solution Tell the 
 user a 
 new story Build a new experience 2 Lessons Story Act II - Design Intervention Engineering Team Founders Design Intervention meUX
  65. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Lessons Story Act III - Product Release Founders 3 Measure Results meUX Engineering Team ?
  66. UX Story Wheel Project World User World Lessons Story Epilogue - After State Founders 3 Measure Results meUX ? ? ? Engineering Team
  67. Lessons Story Pattern UX Story Wheel Trigger/ Awareness Tests & Failures Epic Struggle Return Changed Before
 State Design Intervention Product Release After 
 State
  68. UX Story Wheel Lessons Story Bridge Analytics Bottom Line Usage Stats Bottom Line
  69. UX Story Wheel Im user Insight 
 & Meaning Big Idea Wow! Lessons Story Bridge Next StepsAnalytics
  70. RULE OF THE ROAD #10 Take the entire UX Story Wheel into account when forming lessons. #uxstorywheel
  71. RULE OF THE ROAD #11 Establish the user as a key character early. 
 It only gets harder. #uxstorywheel
  72. EPILOGUE TBD YOUR STORY
  73. RULE OF THE ROAD #12 Don’t forget your own story. 
 Tell people what YOUR UXer’s Journey looks like. #uxstorywheel
  74. UX! Oh, I get it… Wow! Cool.
  75. 150 SPEAR ST, STE. 1500 SF, CA 94105 415.339.1979 | www.springstudio.com | @SpringUX THANK YOU MARY WHARMBY | @marywharmby
  76. Make your own 
 UX Story Wheel at home 
 with our EZ printable template! 
 Follow: 
 @marywharmby or #uxstorywheel 
 for details. COMING SOON
  77. 1. People will hear a story whether you tell it or not. Tell the story you want people to hear. 2. Building on Campbell’s Hero’s Journey makes our UX stories more impactful and relatable to others. 3. The UXer’s Journey means simultaneously keeping a foot in both the user story AND the project story. 4. Your design PROCESS is your UX Journey PLOT. 5. Ground each artifact story in BOTH the user and project stories. 6. Baby, don’t fear the pivots… Setbacks and false leads make for moments of truth and triumph. Acknowledge them. #uxstorywheel RULES OF THE ROAD
  78. 7. Keep it human (centered). The more personal a story, the more universally relatable. 8. Everyone is on a hero’s journey. Recognize the other characters in your stories. 9. Innovation is a risky adventure. The outcome is unknown. Acknowledge risk in your stories. 10. Take the entire UX Story Wheel into account when forming lessons. 11. Establish the user as a key character early. It only gets harder. 12. Don’t forget your own story. Tell people what YOUR UXer’s Journey looks like. #uxstorywheel RULES OF THE ROAD
  79. INSPIRATION & REFERENCES Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint, Nancy Kress, 2005, Writer’s Digest Books Customer Journey Mapping, 2012, Chris Risdon & Todd Wilkens (for their brilliant Indiana Jones analogy) Five Indispensable Skills for UX Mastery, Jared Spool, 2010, User Interface Engineering Plot & Structure, James Scott Bell, 2004, Writer’s Digest Books The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, 1988, Doubleday Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte, 2010, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Story, Robert McKee, 1997, Harper Collins Storytelling for User Experience, Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks, 2010, Rosenfeld Media UX Portfolios: How to tell your story, Patrick Neeman & Troy Parke, 2010, Slideshare Special thanks to my very patient colleagues at Spring Studio and Sketchnote Mornings for their helpful feedback. This talk was informed and influenced by the work of many others, most notably:
  80. Story Circle: https://flic.kr/p/aW3w1g Bar: https://flic.kr/p/5jUQtq Office: https://flic.kr/p/5aPvcH Cave Painting: https://flic.kr/p/d9jBg Joseph Campbell: http://www.starwars.wikia.com Star Wars: www.cinemablend.com Wizard of Oz: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-wizard-of-oz/images/2028395/title/wizard-oz-caps-screencap Rocky: http://oppositelock.kinja.com/were-watching-rocky-in-film-studies-tomorrow-1444676988 Its a Wonderful Life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_a_Wonderful_Life Avatar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_(2009_film) Indiana Jones (jungle): http://io9.com/why-archeologists-hate-indiana-jones-1636800753 Indiana Jones (classroom): http://www.themarysue.com/indiana-jones-mystery-solved/ Indiana Jones (artifact): galleryhip.com Sherlock Holmes: http://romeodistrictlibrary.org/?attachment_id=4056 Ocean’s 11: http://www.zecatalist.com/columns/retro-review-oceans-11/ Mrs Doubtfire: http://abc7.com/archive/9507229/ PHOTOS

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