Using storytelling to explore the rich context of user experience
Using storytelling to explore the rich context of user experience
Presentation at Agile 2010
Using storytelling to explore the rich context of user experience Whitney Quesenbery Agile 2010 UX Stage Orlando, FL August 10, 2010
Hi! I’m Whitney User researcher, UX designer, usability Former theatre designer Storytelling as a way to understand user, culture, and context in UX design Co-author, Storytelling for User Experience Researcher in new UI technologies Performance storyteller Storytelling as a pivotal part of the creation, performance, and design process. Kevin Brooks – also part of the picture
Stories are a natural way to communicate Stories: Convey knowledge Persuade Inspire thought Entertain Build relationship and community
User stories in Agile A placeholder for a conversationNot the whole story, but a reminder of it A way to gather requirementsFrom customers, in their own language Customer focused“As a [role] I can [do something] so that [benefit]” Written by customers (sometimes)From their perspective
Storytelling is also part of UX Understand Understand Specify Success? Specify Evaluate Evaluate Design Design
Stories are integral to many UX activities Userresearch Field studies Site visits Analysis Affinity analysis Content analysis Evaluation Design Usability Testing Scenarios Log Analysis Wireframes Prototype walk-through
Stories add depth to the big picture Showing activities in context help you understand more clearly when, where and how a product will be used. Stories are an efficient way to communicate non-functional requirements or user characteristics Thinking in stories connects similar activities, attitudes, or goals across functions.
Stories communicate efficiently Tanner was deep into a Skatepunkz game—all the way up to level 12—when he got a buddy message from his friend, Steve, with a question about his homework. He looked up with a start. Almost bedtime and his homework was still not done. Mom or Dad would be in any minute. What can we learn about Tanner from this short story?
Listening Exercise Work in pairs - with someone you don’t know 1 minutes to speak - then switch Speaker’s job - speak about something relatively comfortable Listener’s job - just listen. Don’t have to talk, interrupt or fill silences. Talk aboutsomething that happened while you were on the way to Orlando.
Claude Shannon was wrong* Stories do not work like a broadcast transmission. Stories are created by everyone who hears them. * At least about stories.
A story is shared by everyone who hears it Someone starts telling a story As they listen, the audience members form their own images of the story.
A story is shared by everyone who hears it The storyteller and the audience both shape the story. In the end, each person in the audience ‘owns’ the story, too The audience is a part of the story each time it is told.
People understand stories in the context oftheir own experience
The relationships around a story are called the Story Triangle
Ask the questions that encourage stories “Have you ever [done something]?” “How often do you [do that thing]?” “What makes you decide to [do that thing]?” “Where do you [do that thing]?” + “When was the last time you [did that thing]?” + “Tell me about that.” (and really listen)
While you are listening,turn on your juicy story filter You are looking for stories that…. You hear from more than one source. Have a lot of action detail. Have details that illuminate user data Surprise or contradict common beliefs And are clear, simple, and compelling.
Juicy fragments can grow into a story “I love seeing lots of people on the metro platform. It usually means a train will arrive soon.” “Nothing more aggavating waiting for a bus. Have I just missed it? Is it on its way? What’s the scoop?” “It’s like a game: drive or take the bus – which will get me there first?” “When the bus stop isn’t clearly marked, I always worry whether I’m in the right place.”
Data Persona Aged 30-45Well educated45% married with children50% use the web 3-5 times a week65% in community activities Elizabeth, 32 years old Married to Joe, has a 5-year old son, Justin Attended State College, and manages her class alumni site Uses Google as her home page, and reads CNN online Used the web to find the name of a local official
Shared stories can identify similar users Based on real data Constructed from shared stories Explains goals and motivations Helps you empathize withtheir point of view
Stories close a gap When you retell a story, you make a connection between your colleagues and the person you heard the story from.
Personas let you explore situations and ideas The persona as a character provides perspective The relationships create the context The imagery suggests emotional connections The language can suggest the voice of the persona
There is nothing more frustrating than waitingfor the bus. On a suburban road. In the snow. Sandra didn’t like snow much anyway, but she liked standing at her bus stop even less, with snow oozing into her boots and cars splashing ice at her. Had she missed it? Was it right around the corner? Was it even running with all this snow? Was anything going to get her to work on time today? Stories explore situations and context Context Set up the problem Character The persona creates the perspective andrelationship Imagery Suggests theemotionalconnections
Much as Ian loved staying out with his friends until the pubs closed, he hated getting home late at night. Was the train still running, or did he have to trudge over to the stop for the night bus – two blocks that seemed much longer after a few beers? And there was the tedium of watching the bus wind through the streets. Stories explore situations and context (2) Context Different setting Character Different situation Same basic problem
What design ideas does the story suggest? Put bus schedules on the web with real-time updates Send a text message and get a message back with the ETA for the next bus Signs at the bus stop saying how long until the next one Service alerts with emails about problems Stories help you explore ideas in context!
Personas help you explore design ideas Work with a partner again Use one of your stories about traveling Write a story sentence that describes the need that the story expresses Pick one of the personas Now, write a short story that explores a design idea that will work for that persona As a [role] I want to [do something] so that I can [benefit] [like this].
First the storyteller shapes the story Mark – The Commuter About Mark 28 years old, single Shares a house in the suburbs Uses a computer, but is not focused on it Goals Don’t waste a lot of time figuring things out, don’t get stuck with no way to get home Attitudes Hates being inconvenienced. Mark lives in a suburb and commutes to his job in the city center. He likes his job, but commuting is just something he has to endure to be able to live near his friends. They are an important part of his life – and he spends his evenings and weekends just hanging out with them. His biggest gripe about commuting is that the trains seem to be late all the time, and that these days they are also very crowded. He likes to be able to read his sports magazines, or sleep on the train, so he’s not happy about “people who sit on the train and “yammer into their phones” A couple of times a month, Mark and some of his friends from work go out to a bar, or to watch a ball game at someone’s apartment. He always seems to end up sitting at the station waiting for the next train.
Chris – The Urbanite About Chris 32 years, married Live in the city Uses her hand-held all the time for web Stops into internet cafes if she needs a better connection Broadband at home Goals Get arount town efficiently Attitudes Hates waiting Chris lives in the city, so she uses public transportation as her main way to get around. She works as a service rep and spends most of her time at customer offices, checking in with them and handling any problems. Her days can be complicated, as she tries to be on time as she goes from place to place. She took the job because she likes variety, but this also means that she doesn’t use the same bus or train every day, like some of her friends. Instead, she’s become a bit of an expert in getting around her city, for example, knowing what great little restaurant is near a train stop. She’s become a bit of an expert and likes it when her friends ask her for advice. Her husband also works in the city, and they often meet after work for dinner or to go out with friends.
First the storyteller shapes the story Sandra (& Lloyd) – The Tourists About Sandra 62 years old Travels both alone and with her husband, Lloyd Lives in a small town Computer at work Broadband at home Goals Plan her vacation confidently. Find the best values for her money. Attitudes Doesn’t like new situations. Worries about safety Sandra does not use public transportation in her daily life, but when she and her family go on vacation, or when she travels to another city, she does not like to have to drive. She uses the Web to research her travels. She is usually confident in making hotel and air reservations online, but she cannot always find information about local transport options. Sometimes she has found a good value on a tourism site – for example, learning that there are local trains for a small fraction of a taxi from the airport. Sandra is more concerned about her personal safety, now that she’s getting older, and she also worries about missing her stop or misunderstanding the directions and getting lost.
After she’d waited for a few minutes, Sandra brushed enough snow off the sign to be able to read the stop number. She had the RideFind number in her phone’s contact list, so all she had to do was enter the number of the bus stop into a text message. A couple of seconds later, the reply came back. The bus was 10 minutes away, running late. She’d get to work this morning. A new ending to Sandra’s story…
Stories spark innovation Stories can be part of brainstorming Start with… Stories you hear during customer conversations Explore new perspectives on a problem or goal Personas Show their behavior in new situations Data Explorations that look behind the data Random elements Force yourself outside the box
Storytelling can make your work richer and more effective
Storytelling for User Experience:Crafting stories for better design Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brookswhitneyq@email@example.com Blog and book sitewww.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/storytelling/ Use code AGILE10 for 20% off Ilustrations available under Creative Commons www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/