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Storytelling

for better product design
Mario Van der Meulen • Principal Designer
A Foolproof Singapore workshop
UXPH 2018
why, hello!
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
in the next few hours…
the problem
the practice
the mindset
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeu...
you, at the end 

of this workshop
story
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
(promise!)
@MarioVDMeulen
I work 

at an experience design agency
awesome
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
foolproof.co.uk

foolpr...
if anything, 

we are storytellers
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
it’s the secret 

to designing empathetic products
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
I like stories so much,

can someone share one?
thank you!
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeul...
repeat the story you just heard
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
the key metric of success in
storytelling, is your audience’s
ability to repeat it
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Pro...
how and when 

do we use story in UX?
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
user story
user scenario
in general -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
“At its core, 

a user story describes something
that the user wants to accomplish
by using the software product”
UXbooth....
“A user scenario is the fictitious
story of a user, accomplishing an
action or goal via a product”
interaction-design.org ...
“As a (role) I want (something) so
that (benefit)”
persona
task, action
goal, objective
both use this as a framework -
UXP...
per team, in 10 minutes, please make a few of these UX stories -
As a…
I want…
so that…
…[persona]
…[task]
…[goal]
exercis...
For example -
As a…
I want…
so that…
…user
…to select what folders to backup
…I don’t clutter my hard disc
UXPH 2018 • Sto...
let’s share
exercise -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
most of the time, user stories are
easy to repeat, and therefor easy
to remember
the advantage -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling ...
job done?
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
too often, a user story 

will focus only on the how and 

the what of a product
the problem -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling fo...
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
user stories are often too specific,
too early in the de...
in other words, they are 

mostly solutions, and 

not enough about possibilities
the problem -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling f...
what are signs that a user story
is not that good?
question -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDM...
symptoms of a not-so-good story in UX
PRODUCT
- Scope creep
- Extended timeline
- Over budget
- Scope reduction
TEAMS
- Fe...
the empathy, inspiration, vision –
in other words the why of the
product is missing
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Pr...
WHY WHAT HOW
story/problem solution
Product Development Timeline
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @Mario...
stories for user experience should
be method of building a shared
understanding and empathy
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for B...
how to do this,

and then, 

how to do it better
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
every empathetic story
has a structure
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
insight -
@MarioVDMeulen
it uses three components
a character

a context

a conflict
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeu...
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
intro
increasingly 

rising action
conflict
rapidly
defused tension
res...
Pixar
Once upon a time there was…
every day, …
one day …
because of that, …
because of that, …
until finally …
rule 4 of Pi...
a structure of a story has many
similarities with a product design’s
process to problem solving
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling f...
what if, instead of describing a
user requirement, we apply a
story-centered design process?
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for ...
how about we turn our persona
into a character…
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
step one -
@MarioVDMeul...
how about we understand the
context from the experience of the
character…
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Desi...
how are the uncertainties, or other
issues, felt and experienced 

by your character?
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better ...
a character a context a conflict
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
’in a nutshell’
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
per team, in 5 minutes: using maximum two sentences, de...
what movie can we recognise?
one team member, please share your description with us
exercise -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling fo...
what was your
neighbour's movie one-liner?
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
ODD NUMBER TEAMS: 

you will develop now a story for an investor, 

so your new initiative gets more funding, and your pro...
‘the big picture’
per team, in 15 minutes: establish the problem statement
exercise -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better ...
We believe that
[doing this/having this feature/creating this experience]

for [these people/character]
will achieve [this...
what is your big picture?
one team member, please share your problem statement with us
exercise -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling...
“make me believe your tensions,
and I will commit to 

your resolution”
key insight -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better ...
the emotional side of a story
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
‘childhood hero’
per team, in 10 minutes: form a short story about a ch...
tell us about your childhood hero
one team member, please share
exercise -
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Des...
user flows - product and user
experience storytelling in one
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMe...
let’s go with a flow
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
per team, in 20 minutes: using paper and post its,...
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
simulate the user experience


spot problems and questions


clarify design goals
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Prod...
supplement user stories with a
story arc, so that these can inform
more than just the utility
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for...
UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design
story/problem
solution
Product Development Timeline
WHAT HOWWHY
@MarioV...
principles for designing 

experience in a story
- personas are characters- Journey mapping is a plot arc- stakeholder eng...
Mario Van der Meulen
thank you!
• Principal Designer
Foolproof Singapore
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Storytelling for product design workshop @UXPH2018

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The working deck for the workshop I ran at UXPH2018 to inspire and encourage UX designers to use story and story telling techniques to deliver more empathetic products or services.

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Storytelling for product design workshop @UXPH2018

  1. 1. Storytelling
 for better product design Mario Van der Meulen • Principal Designer A Foolproof Singapore workshop UXPH 2018
  2. 2. why, hello! UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  3. 3. in the next few hours… the problem the practice the mindset UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  4. 4. you, at the end 
 of this workshop story UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design (promise!) @MarioVDMeulen
  5. 5. I work 
 at an experience design agency awesome UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design foolproof.co.uk
 foolproof.com.sg
 @Foolproof_UX @MarioVDMeulen
  6. 6. if anything, 
 we are storytellers UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  7. 7. it’s the secret 
 to designing empathetic products UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  8. 8. I like stories so much,
 can someone share one? thank you! UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  9. 9. repeat the story you just heard UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  10. 10. the key metric of success in storytelling, is your audience’s ability to repeat it UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design key learning - @MarioVDMeulen
  11. 11. how and when 
 do we use story in UX? UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  12. 12. user story user scenario in general - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  13. 13. “At its core, 
 a user story describes something that the user wants to accomplish by using the software product” UXbooth.com - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  14. 14. “A user scenario is the fictitious story of a user, accomplishing an action or goal via a product” interaction-design.org - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  15. 15. “As a (role) I want (something) so that (benefit)” persona task, action goal, objective both use this as a framework - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  16. 16. per team, in 10 minutes, please make a few of these UX stories - As a… I want… so that… …[persona] …[task] …[goal] exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  17. 17. For example - As a… I want… so that… …user …to select what folders to backup …I don’t clutter my hard disc UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design As a… I want… so that… …teacher …to screen my students quickly …I know their skill profile @MarioVDMeulen
  18. 18. let’s share exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  19. 19. most of the time, user stories are easy to repeat, and therefor easy to remember the advantage - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  20. 20. job done? UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  21. 21. too often, a user story 
 will focus only on the how and 
 the what of a product the problem - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  22. 22. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen user stories are often too specific, too early in the design process
  23. 23. in other words, they are 
 mostly solutions, and 
 not enough about possibilities the problem - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  24. 24. what are signs that a user story is not that good? question - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  25. 25. symptoms of a not-so-good story in UX PRODUCT - Scope creep - Extended timeline - Over budget - Scope reduction TEAMS - Feature focussed - Burn out - Declining passion - Growing frustration USERS - Confused - Slow/hard to adopt - No adoption - No word of mouth UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  26. 26. the empathy, inspiration, vision – in other words the why of the product is missing UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  27. 27. WHY WHAT HOW story/problem solution Product Development Timeline UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  28. 28. stories for user experience should be method of building a shared understanding and empathy UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  29. 29. how to do this,
 and then, 
 how to do it better UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  30. 30. every empathetic story has a structure UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design insight - @MarioVDMeulen
  31. 31. it uses three components a character
 a context
 a conflict UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  32. 32. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design intro increasingly 
 rising action conflict rapidly defused tension resolution climax! and maps these 
 on a story arc @MarioVDMeulen
  33. 33. Pixar Once upon a time there was… every day, … one day … because of that, … because of that, … until finally … rule 4 of Pixar’s 22 rules of story UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design for example - @MarioVDMeulen
  34. 34. a structure of a story has many similarities with a product design’s process to problem solving UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  35. 35. what if, instead of describing a user requirement, we apply a story-centered design process? UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  36. 36. how about we turn our persona into a character… UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design step one - @MarioVDMeulen
  37. 37. how about we understand the context from the experience of the character… UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design step two - @MarioVDMeulen
  38. 38. how are the uncertainties, or other issues, felt and experienced 
 by your character? UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design step three - @MarioVDMeulen
  39. 39. a character a context a conflict UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  40. 40. ’in a nutshell’ UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design per team, in 5 minutes: using maximum two sentences, describe a movie without mentioning title or actors. @MarioVDMeulen
  41. 41. what movie can we recognise? one team member, please share your description with us exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  42. 42. what was your neighbour's movie one-liner? UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  43. 43. ODD NUMBER TEAMS: 
 you will develop now a story for an investor, 
 so your new initiative gets more funding, and your product can get developed and launched
 EVEN NUMBER TEAMS:
 you are now creating a story for a development team, to clarify goals and inspire them, because you need to improve on the product UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  44. 44. ‘the big picture’ per team, in 15 minutes: establish the problem statement exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  45. 45. We believe that [doing this/having this feature/creating this experience]
 for [these people/character] will achieve [this outcome].
 
 We will know this is true when we see [this event/market feedback/quantitive measure/qualitative insight/new behaviour] model - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  46. 46. what is your big picture? one team member, please share your problem statement with us exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  47. 47. “make me believe your tensions, and I will commit to 
 your resolution” key insight - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  48. 48. the emotional side of a story UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  49. 49. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design ‘childhood hero’ per team, in 10 minutes: form a short story about a childhood hero, and convince us why this person mattered, and what values they gave you exercise - @MarioVDMeulen
  50. 50. tell us about your childhood hero one team member, please share exercise - UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  51. 51. user flows - product and user experience storytelling in one UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  52. 52. let’s go with a flow UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design per team, in 20 minutes: using paper and post its, sketch out a prospective user flow, that visualises the problem statement and how success will look like exercise - @MarioVDMeulen
  53. 53. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  54. 54. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  55. 55. simulate the user experience 
 spot problems and questions 
 clarify design goals UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design @MarioVDMeulen
  56. 56. supplement user stories with a story arc, so that these can inform more than just the utility UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design key insight - @MarioVDMeulen
  57. 57. UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design story/problem solution Product Development Timeline WHAT HOWWHY @MarioVDMeulen
  58. 58. principles for designing 
 experience in a story - personas are characters- Journey mapping is a plot arc- stakeholder engagement is performance
- we are all each other’s audience UXPH 2018 • Storytelling for Better Product Design key learning - @MarioVDMeulen
  59. 59. Mario Van der Meulen thank you! • Principal Designer Foolproof Singapore

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