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Story-telling as part of user-experience

I stumbled on to this article thanks to GigaOm
It was a very timely reminder.

A few months ago while trying to sketch some scenarios, instead of doing the standard "User does X; then does Y",  after some encouragement by a more senior Googler, I spent a little bit of time thinking about who the user was and wove stories around each use case (admittedly what I was working on lent itself to that.)

I told a story about how Bob would use a certain product, why he was interested in it, and how it fit perfectly with what he did in the morning, and how his daugher would use it as well and how they'd pay for it...etc., etc.

Two things happened:
  • Firstly, it was just a lot more fun for me to work on! I like story-telling. :)
  • Secondly, I thought it helped the product definition quite a bit.
True marketing professoinals (especially in CPG) do this really well, and there's a lot to learn there. They create detailed profiles of their end users and think about them obsessively (life-size-posters-in-the-office  and show-up-in-their-dream obsessively.)

Applying some of these storytelling and profiling techniques helps keep the user more real when your thinking about products, and hence hopefully helps build better products.

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Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.



Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)



It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)