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Storytelling and Interaction Design - From Business to Buttons
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Storytelling and Interaction Design - From Business to Buttons


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This is the talk I gave at From Business to Buttons in Stockholm on April 3, 2014. …

This is the talk I gave at From Business to Buttons in Stockholm on April 3, 2014.
Focuses on the power and value of storytelling as a tool and how Interaction Design is made up of the same components of a story when done correctly. Using this framework will lead to better designs.

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  • 1. Create among all stakeholders a shared sense of meaning and purpose (aka value) around the solutions within any given set of problem spaces.
  • 2. Before there was ever design. Before there was the written word. At the dawn of language itself, with tools like fire and stone, there was story.
  • 3. Stories have been used to engage us, yes, but also to guide us.
  • 4. Pain doesn’t have to be deadly … just an annoyance.
  • 5. Leaders, heroes, magic come to our rescue
  • 6. Without a sense of justice we cannot move forward.
  • 7. We need not struggle, to be free. The magic for us, is the magic of design.
  • 8. They demonstrate a new world order, where without the magic, or its cause, we would be irresponsible without.
  • 9. A story by itself is not so much in the telling.
  • 10. How to even tell the story to different audiences in this case.
  • 11. The frames get re-used throughout. With the rest of the system stories reinforce relationships, and create a cultural memory system.
  • 12. The afikomen is an invention in later versions of the the story telling ritual that adds a game to the evening. It creates an annual anticipation of possible reward. The frames get re-used throughout. With the rest of the system stories reinforce relationships, and create a
  • 13. What’s wrong w/ this plate? The orange … It has it’s own story.
  • 14. The story is an anchor of a shared experience that all who hear it can share.
  • 15. Frames create structure for memory, and for retelling. It creates pathways similar to landmarks.
  • 16. It even gives us the means for framing how we even craft the story in the first place. Gives us a place to start.
  • 17. But memory in a photo is not enough.
  • 18. We create structure so we can remember. The question is an invitation to create a story and once created it lives on it’s.
  • 19. But because stories are human (or anthropomorphized) we connect deeply at an emotional level when done correctly.
  • 20. But stories are an externalization. Once externalized they are a mirror that allow us to reflect. No genre of storytelling reflects this better than Science Fiction. Whether the utopia of Star Trek or the distopia of classic Japanese anime or the billions of questions from the shortest of short Phillip K. Dyck stories, we are
  • 21. As noted above, great stories have lessons for us.
  • 22. If they don’t engage the different intended audiences, we have failed and so every aspect of a story’s details needs to use the tools of psychological engagement: humor, fear, anticipation, suspense, climatic resolution, exposition, etc. to hold our attention, and create relevance.
  • 23. So a long time ago, some famous Greek dude, decided to espouse on what makes a narrative. He was a simple man though and came up with …
  • 24. He said, there is a definite beginning, and since there is invariably more than one word there is definitely an END, but the exciting part is that he said there is … wait for it … a MIDDLE!!!
  • 25. Fast forward a few millennia and this Prussian guy said this is a good start, but is not enough to make a narrative.
  • 26. This has hence been expanded on further. And for the designer, it is the last part that closes the loop between acts of a story, or between stories themselves that is most important to consider: transformation. If there is no transformation (positive transformation hopefully) there is no
  • 27. This is not meant to be comprehensive and often these have different names such as character, setting and plot.
  • 28. But when you look at their structure in this way you see a direct correlation to what is we do as designers and why story is such a wonderful map for interaction design.
  • 29. Experience can come from anywhere. Get out. Be with people. Be with nature. Be with industry. Be with yourself in new places. Get your passport stamped A LOT! But also do research. Any and all research is good. Research is experience.
  • 30. Not doubt about it. Just like everything else we do it takes hard work.
  • 31. Everyone has a different voice that they prefer for storying telling. For me it is words. I’m not visual. I don’t like to draw. I sorta like to take pictures. I do like to talk and I do like to write. For you it will be something else. But don’t stop looking for collaborators to compliment your weaknesses and enhance your strengths. More than
  • 32. Do your personas. Create the characters. Craft them from your data of experience gathering.
  • 33. Ethnography is the best type of experience gathering it. It is personal. It combines both listening and observation so that you get more sensory experience than just interviews or passive observation by themselves.
  • 34. Get building and do it with people. Anyone. Everyone. Don’t have them build to answer questions, but to drive questions.
  • 35. Act, play, move, perform.
  • 36. Build, use, participate
  • 37. Tell, visualize, share.
  • 38. Script writing differs from just writing a story. It has structure and form that offers guidance for how direct key elements like actors and cameras through a given part of a story (a scene).
  • 39. A tool that helps this process even deeper is Adobe Story. I highly recommend people who are interested in the language/narrative side of design to take a look at it.
  • 40. You can pair script writing w/ storyboarding and tools like Comic Life take the hard part of comics out of the way. You don’t have to think about the framing of your work, or the drawing of simple elements. By using photos instead of drawing (or finding photos online) you can build out comics to tell a story fairly quickly.
  • 41. This is a great example of low-fi story telling. Easy to do. You could do this whole thing in Keynote if you wanted to, but tools like iMovie would do in a pinch. Persona and his problem scenario are expressed w/ the market space to begin. A strong understanding of the
  • 42. Can your company evoke this much emotion in a language most likely most of your customers can’t read. Be sure to watch w/o captions. My goal in my career is to craft stories like this for the organizations I work for. I challenge you to do the same.