The power of stories: creating empathy and connection

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Presentation from Giant Conference, June 12, 2014, Charleston

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The power of stories: creating empathy and connection

  1. 1. The Power of Story Designing with empathy and connection Whitney Quesenbery WQusability and Center for Civic Design Twitter @whitneyq
  2. 2. Hi!  User research, usability, accessibility  Former theatre designer  Storytelling as a way to understand users, culture, and context in UX design  Passionate about civic design  New book on accessible UX  How about you?
  3. 3. Kevin Brooks
  4. 4. Couriemail.com.au Stories connect us
  5. 5. Personas & stories communicate patterns  Stories...  Store and transmit knowledge  Communicate culture  Explore new ideas  They help us…  Share information in memorable form  Understand emotion and desires 5
  6. 6. Too often, "data" looks like this...
  7. 7. And even when it looks like this...
  8. 8. Or this, it still needs a storyteller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo
  9. 9. Stories let us fill in the gaps http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/blindspot1.html
  10. 10. Stories create relationships This is the key relationship
  11. 11. A story is shared by everyone who hears it
  12. 12. Stories are building blocks Kindersandi.moonfruit.com
  13. 13. Explain patterns of use
  14. 14. Communicate context (and emotion) Ten minutes is not enough. That's Tanner’s opinion about the time limits on using the computer at school. Last Friday, he started working on a geography assignment and look up some information about the animals in Africa. He had just gotten started when his turn on the computer was up. He’d like to work on it over the weekend, but can’t access the school library. He prints out a few things, and figures he will retype what he’s done when he gets home. What a bore.
  15. 15. Show action over time
  16. 16. Narrative weaves the user journey into the structure of a site.
  17. 17. Fill in details and scenarios Rachel, Enthusiastic dreamer 28, finished one year at uni, works in an office Lives in North London with a partner Hasn’t settled down to a plan for her life Interested in Social Sciences FIRST CONTACT WITH THE OU: OU ON TV Insomnia led Rachel to the OU, watching programs on the telly. She starts to enjoy the programmes and thinks about doing something to improve her career. It takes her a long time to act on this idea, but she visits an Open Day. She spends ages thinking about it, sometimes browsing the web site, but also reading the brochures she has taken from the Open Day. On her third trip to an Open Day, she finally registers for an Openings course that’s about to begin.
  18. 18. Stories can explore unexpected data Gina gave us the first clue. She was a nurse manager for the county health system. “I’m on the move all day and I have a huge case load. Patients are always throwing new questions at me. Yesterday, I really struggled to sort out a problem one patient was having with side effects. I speak a little Spanish, but just couldn’t remember the correct medical term to explain a new adjuvant the doctor wanted to try. It was so frustrating.” She pointed at the sketch. “I don’t have a phone that will do all that...yet, but... if it’s really that ... simple…”
  19. 19. A lens into the data
  20. 20. What is the impact of search on the user experience?
  21. 21. Search and traffic analysis The top searches are persistent (and have continued over time With some seasonal variations
  22. 22. The search logs shows a classic “long tail” eggs onions cabbage vinegar potato salmon
  23. 23. We had personas George Martin Margaret Jason Abila Rachel
  24. 24. We* can use the personas as a lens into the data * by “we” I mean Viki Stirling and Sarah Allen the maestros of the analytics who did the work
  25. 25. Consolidating knowledge
  26. 26. Personas explore tensions in the design space
  27. 27. Quantitative and qualitative data work together Demographics Journey Market segments Task analysis Skills Usability needs Other sites used
  28. 28. Snapshots reinforce the relationships
  29. 29. How will you tell the story? Mary and Leonard Trujillo – The Mudhead Gallery
  30. 30. Stories are efficient 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.
  31. 31. Each voice is a perspective Third Person Second Person First Person Story is told about someone, looking at them from the outside Story is a conversation between the storyteller and another person Story is told from the point of view of the main character For example: A UX person telling stories about how several different people responded to a prototype. Persona stories, especially if there is more than one For example: Feedback to a participant or other stakeholder, “Interviewing a persona” Talking directly to users of a product For example: A UX person telling the story of their own reactions. Retelling a story from the point of view of the original experience. Maintains a distance between “us” and “them” Creates a direct connection and invites the other person to respond. Invites the audience to look at the story through the eyes of 36
  32. 32. 3rd person allows you to explain and interpret Whose words and thoughts are these?  Are these things that Mary would say or are they our interpretation of all the data and stories that went into the Mary persona?  How can we show when we are using her own words?  Does this story invoke research authority- a “realist tale”? Mary works as a nurse in a hectic women’s health center for a low- income neighborhood. … Her questions about cancer mostly come from her patients, or from wanting to be sure that she catches any early signs. … She has learned conversational Spanish, so she can talk to her patients for whom this is a first language. … When she looks things up on the Web, she tends to go back to familiar sites John van Mannen – Tales from the Field
  33. 33. 2nd person creates conversation How can you show the conversation? Interviews maintain a separation Conversations can also happen between two personas Persona by Caroline Jarrett for the Open University
  34. 34. 1st person invites identity You represent the persona and tell the story from their point of view. Lets you “get into the head” of the story (an “impressionist tale”) OR First person can tell your story of your experience with the person (a “confessional tale”)
  35. 35. Stories are not a detailed task analysis Focus on the story  Establish the scene with imagery  What’s the time-frame?  What’s the emotional context Think about the persona’s perspective  How do they see the events or interaction?  What words do they use? Style of language?  What are the boundaries of the story from their point of view? (Hint: it might not be your product!) Don’t use the story to describe the user
  36. 36. Personas and their stories give us... A richer understanding of context Innovation from real needs More persuasive ideas People in the center of the process
  37. 37. Screen: Globalgiving.com For more::http://succeedwithsuccessstories.com/dr-spocks-guide-to-improving-your-charitable-appeals/ Stories create empathy
  38. 38. Stories change how we think Our experience of the world is shaped by our interpretations of it, the stories we tell ourselves.... so the key to personal transformation is story transformation. - Timothy Wilson, Redirect Screen from Tripit
  39. 39. Personas (and stories) travel thru the UX journey Specify Understand Design Evaluate Gather information - both qualitative and quantitative Reflect the breadth and depth of the audience Explore current problems and new design ideas Stories can be a vehicle for evaluation, or a check on usability test participants
  40. 40. A story is successful when it gets repeated  Based on real data  The stories you want told  Generate insights and empathy & that lead to action!
  41. 41. Storytelling for User Experience with Kevin Brooks Global UX with Daniel Szuc A Web for Everyone with Sarah Horton http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/a-web-for-everyone/
  42. 42. Whitney Quesenbery whitneyq@wqusability.com www.wqusability.com @whitneyq Center for Civic Design whitneyq@centerforcivicdesign centerforcivicdesign.org @ChadButterfly

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