Using digital storytelling to create User Experience

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Digital storytelling, non-linear narrative

Digital storytelling

Digital storytelling is a non-linear way to tell stories and there is something that separates it from the common linear narratives in books.

With digital storytelling focus lies on users experiences. The user take part off the story through interaction. It’s possible to control the outcome of the story. This kind of storytelling is interactive and non-linear. Users participate and make their own path through the story. During the interaction he or she faces different challenges. There is always one or more way to navigate through or interact with the story.

Mobile Apps

If you look at mobile phones and apps for example, digital storytelling is an important part of User Experience design:

  • ​Interactive ebooks of different kinds.
  • Adventures where users can participate and also interact. The interaction can consist of picking up clues, helping the characters in the adventure. The user is expected to make choices and actions to help the story move forward.
  • Using QR-codes and GPS to navigate to places or spots in the real world. There is interaction between the user, the real world and the app. All together create an experience and the user control where to go next and what things to discover.
  • Character-based activities contain characters that repeat or answer the user when he/she speaks. In this way, the user controls the story in a flexible way.
  • Appisodes -animated stories or videos with interactive features.

Storytelling in website design

I think digital storytelling is an important art to master when you wish to design great User Experience. Every app or website has it’s story even if it’s not intended. Even if you have a site that sells clothes, there is a story. The user enters, he or she is looking for some new clothes or inspiration or something else. The user also interacts with your site, by clicking on items, putting things in the basket or just browsing. The layout, colors, videos and pictures on your site participate in telling the story along with your users. Isn’t that a rather cool way of thinking?

Create your story, with all possible interactions. Then you make sketches and a prototypes to test the experience. Are your users having a great experience?  Are they finding the way through the story? How do they interact and why?

I hope this might have given you some new insight and hopefully it might be for some help if you wish to create a great experience for you users!

Some inspiration how to plan and sketch your story:

Source and inspiration: Digital Storytelling -a creator’s guide to interactive entertainment, Carolyn Handler Miller

Get your own copy of this book here:

Pictures from Pixabay.

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12 Replies to “Using digital storytelling to create User Experience”

  1. Wow Kerlund! This is a fabulous presentation on how to be more creative with storytelling. I never new about digital storytelling. It opens up a whole new dimension for me. Thanks!

    1. Thanks a lot, great to hear that. Almost everything consists of narratives, and its a great advantage to use that knowledge.

  2. I don;t personally have a whole lot of experience with digital storytelling. Most of my involvement is through blogging, leadership, self helps, etc… I must say, the way you explained it here kinda piqued my interest in checking it out. I don;t think I’m imaginative enough to write it, but I think I might enjoy reading it some as an escape. Thanks for the article!

    1. Thank you! Great to hear that I got you interested. Almost everything in the world is built on narratives, so does the digital world:-) Have a great day!

    1. Hi! So true and great article about how a story should be built. Storytelling can be used for many reasons and I think it’s important to have a story to tell about your business, but also to involve your users in the story by allowing comments, creating interactivity and so on. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

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