Storytelling is the art of creating shared experiences with people using stories. It’s the process of using vivid imagery and expressions to create a coherent narrative that explains a concept. You must’ve heard about storytelling in design and marketing. It has gained a lot of popularity in the UI/UX space because of the experiences it helps create.
One of the main reasons storytelling is so popular is human nature. We all love stories, don’t we? We have been listening to and reading stories throughout our childhood. And there’s science behind the warmth and fuzziness we feel after soaking in a good story. It’s because of the release of oxytocin—a hormone that makes you feel good and reduces stress.
Now that we know why we love storytelling let’s dive deeper into its role in design. We’ll explore how we can use storytelling UX design and storytelling design thinking to create better experiences for our users.
Storytelling is the gateway that helps users relate to a product. You can always talk about a product in plain text, bullet points, and paragraphs. But the best way to tap into the users’ minds and hearts is through storytelling.
Storytelling in design helps you create an emotional bond with the user and take them on a journey of exploring the product. When you use storytelling in design thinking, the mere “task” of using the product instead becomes an exploration for the user.
Here’s what happens when you use storytelling in design:
● You help create an emotional bond between your design and the person viewing it.
● You take the audience on a journey by building a connection and empathy.
● You use the art of design to craft unique experiences that stay in the audience’s mind long after viewing the design.
● You create a personalized experience for the audience where it feels like your product is speaking just to them.
You can use storytelling in design to help create the best experience for the user. With the help of storytelling design thinking and storytelling UX, you’ll create an experience that’ll feel personalized—meant for the user.
While there is no fixed rule on how to use storytelling in a design process, you can follow the below steps to create a roadmap.
The first step to using storytelling in design is understanding what type of stories the audience likes. This is where developing a user persona comes in handy. A user persona is a representation of a person who uses your product.
Questions to ask when creating a user persona:
● What is their name, age, and where are they from?
● What do they do?
● What are their desires?
● What are their likes, dislikes, and hobbies?
● Why do they use your product?
● What problem are you solving for them with the help of your product?
Once you answer these questions, you’ll better understand your users. Remember, though, you’re not filling in the answers for the sake of it, don’t guess. Instead, talk to your actual users to understand them and their persona.
Once you know your user persona, you can create an engaging story for them. A good story is made up of a good plot and conflict. Make the user envision the journey from problem-focused to solution-focused.
This is how you do it:
● List out all the steps the user persona you’ve created takes before coming across your product and after coming across your product.
● Map out a journey for the user that goes something like this:
Challenges > Introduction to your product > Profile setup > A list of activities undertaken > Solution (subscription/checkout, etc.)
A good story has to be aided by a good user experience. If the user experience isn’t good, the user won’t be able to feel the story. Storytelling UX is the core that helps you convey your story smoothly.
Two major things to keep in mind for a good user experience is:
● Interactive design: You can use text, interactive elements, and gamification to make the user feel more involved in the entire process.
● Smooth flow of information: Storytelling in design is about taking a user through an experience. Abrupt information interrupts the flow of this experience and hampers your objective.
What good is a story without a character, right? Every story has a character, and your user is the main character of the product’s storytelling in design. However, to make the character come alive, you can use supporting characters to guide them through the journey.
Brand mascots are an excellent way to use supporting characters and help your user’s personality shine. The more they shine, the better the journey and the better the storytelling experience.
Give your story a beautiful setting by using texts, colors, and other elements. These small details complement the entire storytelling experience and make the user journey more lively and engaging.
Storytelling in design helps craft memorable experiences for users when using your product. The major elements of storytelling in design thinking are a defined user persona; a good story plot, conflict, and resolution; the building of a character; and an engaging journey.
Storytelling in design works best when you’re building for the user; when you understand that your product isn’t the main character, instead it’s the user. The experience has to be filled with empathy and understanding.
Products today are more than just products. They are an extended part of the user’s daily life, and adding a storytelling element to the products helps users be more connected to the product and feel like it has been created just for them. At the core of storytelling in design lies the aim to make the product a daily part of the user’s life—a part of the story of life they lead every day.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started!
Storytelling in design helps you create an emotional bond between your product and your users. You take them on a journey by building a connection and empathy.
Storytelling in design thinking involves using the elements of design to create unique experiences that linger in the audience’s mind for a long time.
The main elements of storytelling in design are:
- Plot: The plot tells us what the story is all about. It involves profoundly understanding the user’s motivations, desires, and triggers. The plot is what drives the story forward by using the user’s actions based on the presented situation.
- Character: Characters are the users who’re using the product—the ones who are driving the plot forward.
- Theme: Theme is your product. It is the place where the entire story takes place. The theme determines how the plot and the characters will move forward. You can use visual elements in your product to accentuate the story’s theme.
- Journey or arc: The entire journey of the user from coming across your product, checking various tabs, doing certain activities, and eventually checking out of your product is the journey of the character. How will you make the journey smooth and memorable? That’s the question storytelling in design aims to solve.
Design storytelling uses design and visual elements to create a story with a unique plot and narrative.
Storytelling in design thinking refers to solving the problems that users face by understanding them and being empathetic to them. Using stories to solve user problems naturally makes the solutions more empathetic and user-focused.
Storytelling in UX design aims to replace tedious, mundane tasks users have to undertake in a product to get what they want with an interactive and engaging story. Users participate in the design and lead their journey rather than just completing tasks.
At its core, storytelling in design helps engage the users and create an emotional connection between them and the product. The stories help the user identify themselves in the plot that is moving forward with the help of interactive design elements, and they are more engrossed in the entire journey.