Storytelling for User Experience – The Book

Storytelling for User Experience

Storytelling for User Experience

“Storytelling for User Experience” by Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks

We all tell stories. In fact, our life is full of stories. Whether we experience them, make them up or simply retell them, they remain an undivided part of our communicative existence. To my shame, I never really pondered on the use of stories to convey ideas, present solutions or warm up the audience before starting your speech. There are many ways storytelling can be used.

I read “Storytelling for User Experience” as being yet another book from the series Rosenfeld Media is made available to the digital professionals. I am still trying to catch my breath and the fact that I am posting this memo only two weeks after I finished the book, shows that I am still pretty much in it. I guess it will be probably best to offer a very short passage from the last chapter of the book here:

People are natural story listeners, so it’s an easy way to share information. Stories can include rich information about behaviour, perspectives, and attitudes. They are an economical way to communicate contextual details. When people listen to stories, their minds are engaged in the process of painting in the details. This engagement sets the stage for persuasion or a call to action. But it can still be hard to change your own ways of communicating, especially if you are part of a team. Habits and established templates are difficult to change. It can be hard work to get to the heart of a story and tell it in just the right way for the audience. And, sometimes, stories fall flat, even when you have tried your hardest.

This is precisely what I did in a brainstorming session I held the chair of. I debated for a while whether I should create a corporate PowerPoint presentation filled with figures and bullet points or I should just tell a story. Fortunately, I decided the night before to ditch the PPT and go with a story. In the beginning, it felt a bit weird, uncomfortable and the flow was not really natural. But as the words came out of my mouth and the eye contact with the session participants was made, the story became alive. They engaged and took their respective roles adding details, asking questions and offering solutions. It was far from perfect, but I doubt myself achieving even 10% of such an engagement should I have opted for the traditional PPT.

I could probably offer here an abundance of superlatives that are actually well deserved. But instead, I would just say a big “Thank you!” to Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks. Your shared experience turned out to be a great user experience for me. A UX I would be definitely coming back to.

Oh, and if anyone wants to get the book, it is available in print and digital format at http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/storytelling/!

Have you read the book? Any opinions you would like to share in the comment section below?

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