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Interactive Storytelling

Reading: Combining the Ingredients of a Story

Thu Sep 7, 2023

For the next week please read Chapter 13 from Storytelling for User Experience.

Pick out 3 quotes from the text and write one paragraph of response for each quote. Pick out the things that do and do not make sense to you, things you do - or do not agree with. Find the main takeaway form the article for you personally.

“The perspective (or perspectives) you choose limits what the people in the story see and experience.”

We don't often consider perspective to be used as a method of reduction and framing for a specific vision that the storyteller wants the audience to see. I've heard many times before to share concepts from your perspective in order to come up with a unique or authentic point of view but this stance is an interesting contrast with the storyteller being more along the lines of an editor who can select various perspectives in order to craft the experience of the audience. Though even with the use of your own personal perspective, how you express the story can shift the overall tone and effect.

“When your story is about user experience work, you are a part of the story because you were there to collect it. You have to decide how to include your own perceptions, if at all.”

Adding onto the previous response, the presence of the storyteller is an idea that I am often intrigued by when consuming media that is meant to be objective such as historical texts, medical documents, and news reporting. There is no way to be entirely subjective, but we trust the storyteller to provide the facts in a manner that would allow us to form our own opinion on the contents or to provide us their informed opinion on the matter. As a user experience designer, we must decide the intent behind including our own perceptions into a story and if our perceptions may add onto or take away from the authenticity of the source.

“All stories rely on our ability to fill in the blanks. As with character, the details you leave out are just as important as what you put in."

The unknowns that exist in well-crafted stories are what add to their allure and universality. It's through these gaps that stories become vessels for empathy and connection. I think with user experience, we would like to identify all the missing pieces of the puzzle. Questions arise like "Who are the users? What are their problems? What are the solutions?" Yet, perhaps we could consider an alternative approach: opening the door for the audience to provide insights and seek solutions through engaging their senses with a well-crafted story that features real individuals.

Final Thoughts

Storytelling can serve as a powerful catalyst, inviting active participation and sparking fresh ideas among the audience. The storyteller should consider the elements of an impactful story and use these elements to produce an engaging, meaningful experience rather than an impersonal pitch.


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