The power of story in UX design

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Getting to know how to tell a story properly can help you in innumerous ways when it comes to being a designer. From designing your portfolio, to effectively selling yourself to employers, to achieving buy-in from stakeholders — being able to craft an engaging and compelling storyline is a skill that can make all the difference.

Get their attention

The first step to strong storytelling is capturing your audience. You need to come out strong with something that will grab the attention of who you are presenting the story to so that they will be more apt to listen (or read) and engage with what you are sharing. A couple ways you can do this is by framing your story with a phrase or idea that will pique intrigue and interest like: ‘let me tell you a true story’, or ‘this is huge, you are going to want to hear this’. If you want to ensure this is effective, address the listener or listeners by name — nothing captures someone's attention quite as much as hearing their name.

Commit and Deliver

Once you’ve achieved the attention of your audience, the next step might seem obvious but it is so often flubbed. You want to deliver on your promises right from the get go. Verbal storytelling — such as in the case of a public speaking situation where you might be pitching an idea or concept to a bunch of company stakeholders or a job interview — should include as much detail and expressive emotions as appropriate. You want to almost relive that story in front of them and have them take that journey with you. Don’t drag out a story with numbing irrelevant details but capture the essence with a succinct and highlighted account sprinkled with humor, popular references (to create familiarity), and casual occasional check-ins (such as ‘you know what I mean?’) to keep your audience right there with you.

Wrap it up

Humans have short attention spans. No need to stretch a story for 20 minutes that can be told in 5. Depending on your intention with your story, this is where you might want to throw in your call to action, or neatly and very succinctly summarize what you’ve just shared. Don’t overthink it, keep it simple and relevant to the situation.

UX Designer and Food Enthusiast based in NYC