Stories have defined our world, they are the basis for all the rules we have right now. They have been with us since cave drawings. They have continued to evolve with their purpose remaining the same; to entertain, to share common experiences, to teach, and to pass on traditions. Stories unify and clarify complex ideas into something universally understood because they appeal to something more than just brain, they appeal to our emotions. Storytelling builds a real human connection and this is the best way to engage your users, it is the strongest motivation for action.
Designers know that the best way to attract and keep people is by telling a compelling and addictive story. “The web is not a global network of connected computers. The web is a global network of connected people. And storytelling is still the most effective way to emotionally impact people.” – Curt Cloninger
UX designers always try to build a positive, meaningful and memorable experience for their users through visual communication, design and interaction. Storytelling convey the best benefits of what you offer, especially the emotional roots of why customers buy from you.
“Marketing is not longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell” – Seth Godin. Storytelling is a very effective way of distinguishing your brand from others. People will remember your brand when it’s connected with a compelling story; you’ll bore investors with facts and figures but capture them if they’re wrapped in a story.
Academics and marketers have found that our brains process and store information in the form of stories easier and faster. So, when we hear that “once upon a time” there was a certain character in such and such place, our minds are immediately transported to this imaginary scene. Storytelling help your audience connect to your business on a personal and emotional level.
16 ESSENTIALS FOR EFFECTIVE STORYTELLING
This is the crucial first step in creating effective story. By knowing your target, you’ll be able to empathise and understand what they want and need on a much deeper level.
“If you want to build a product that’s relevant to people, you need to put yourself in their shoes. You need to write the story from their side” – Jack Dorsey
Your ideal audience must be able to make a personal connection to your story. Your story must make them feel something. The more feelings you can make someone experience, the more they will remember your business.
The most powerful stories use emotions to create a deeper connection with the customers. Facts and figures can be persuasive, but stories are memorable.
Story with strong emotions is more likely to be shared. Positive content is more viral.
3. NATURAL LANGUAGE
People can see it when you use a memorised pitch. It comes off sounding false and forced, and people lose their interest and attention. When you speak in a natural way, you sound like a real person, giving your story a much stronger appeal.
When people see someone or something they recognise they’ll feel calmer and less skeptical. In visual storytelling, if the same person appears throughout your communication, it’s a much more consistent way to reinforce your messaging.
Visuals are more powerful than purely text-based content. Yes, we can craft stories with just words and our target’s imaginations, but adding visuals can help us bring our words to life.
What kind of visuals you use in your brand storytelling depends on the format, but you should strive to use some kind of visual in every telling of your brand story. Photos, drawings, graphs, videos, slides, infographics, facial expressions, gestures – these all make your story interesting, memorable and live.
Don’t say general words, be more concrete, show details. Detail your process – show people how the products or services they’re buying are made or executed. People like examples, people like to know exactly why.
UX designers usually focus on the what and the how forgetting about the why . So to ensure you are providing the best possible solution, you must first understand the struggle that your user is facing or the problem they are trying to solve.
You should understand what it is that motivates your target and what their pain points are to offer the right and relevant solution.
8. 5 C’S
Every story needs the 5 C’s: circumstance, curiosity, characters, conversations and conflict.
9. OPENED QUESTION
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” – Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
10. KEY PROPOSITION
Answer the question “why us”.
Bring out the personality of the company founders. It works very well when someone becomes the face of the brand; good example could be Chanel, when you think about Chanel, you imagine a certain woman behind the brand, you live your story, you know the history, you get attached to it if you share similar values and lifestyle.
12. IDEAS CONVERGENCE
This is a speech structure that shows the audience how different strands of thinking came together to form one product or idea.It can be used to show the birth of a company or a service. Or explain how a single idea was the culmination of several great minds working towards one goal.
13. RES STORYTELLING
Res storytelling is when you begin your story in the heart of the action, before starting over at the beginning to explain how you got there. By putting your target right into the most exciting part of your story they’ll be interested in knowing more about you from the beginning and will stay engaged to find out what happens. Here what is important is to keep intrigue and don’t give away too much of the action straight away. Try to come up with something unexpected, something that needs more explanation, to increase engagement with your brand.
14. A “FALSE START” STORY
This is when you begin to tell a predictable story, before unexpectedly disrupting it and shocking your target that actually that’s not right. This is great for talking about things that you learnt from your experience.
15. PETAL STRUCTURE
This is a way of organising multiple stories around one central concept. It’s useful if you have several unconnected stories you want to tell – that all relate back to a single message.
16. PARALLAX SCROLLING
This is a common approach to storytelling in web design. It Engages your target, draw them in, and guide them through your story. The interactive nature of this parallax scrolling effect is very powerful, because it puts the visitor in action.
7 INSPIRING EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE STORYTELLING IN UX DESIGN
Gopro catches your attention with a video on their home page, where you can see how to use the camera and when to use it. From the beginning you watch a story of GoPro users and want to be one of them. Better to see once than to hear 100 times, this video is really interesting to watch and you understand really well what this camera is for.
Slow Factory makes limited-edition silk scarves, but they also have a great background story:
“We create silk garments using scientific open data and creating meaningful partnerships with NGOs working in preserving our Planet or defending Human Rights. For our latest collection, Petit Atlas, we partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and created a limited edition collection that contributes and supports the preservation work they are doing in keeping our oceans clean.”
Also, they regularly organise donations, this month for example, they help refugees from Lebanon.
Every time you buy something, you will see where your money will be donated.
This is an excellent example of emotional storytelling. People don’t have time or opportunity to help others, but just buying a product that they like and feeling that they help other creates a deep connection with the brand.
Awesome example of how to use visual storytelling. This brand makes you interact with their brand right from the first second.
These guys know how to catch attention and how to tell an interesting story. These guys are content gurus and great storytellers and their web is the best prove for it.
Absolutely brilliant example of how to use storytelling in UX design. Attention to details, natural language, personality, parallax scrolling, personality, etc.
Brilliant visual storytelling, you are catched right from the beginning and you want to follow their story, you want to know what are the results and what are the solutions for the problems that every office employee has at work.
This is an example of “Res storytelling” and all the elements above in one story. Emotional, impressive, interesting even though the text is long!
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