Don Norman’s Keynote and Storytelling with Kevin Brooks at UX Week 2008

Awesome talk. Don Norman starts pointing that we should refer to “People” instead of “User”, even though he’s the one who coined the term User Experience long time ago.

“We design for people, not for users!”

The great thing in being here watching Don talk is that I am a firm believer of everything he says (and a huge fan). I mean, we usually care about how people will think about our product, but in fact, we should care about how will people feel about using it. We are talking about emotions here, and how do people take those emotions into their lives.

One key statement on the presentation that goes with it is that a positive experience is based on memory, not on reality. So he took the iPhone example, it really lacks some important features (even more on the first version), but what you take of it is a good memory, hence a good experience.

So shouldn’t we start thinking about how can we print good feelings in our audiences mind? Uniqueness should be a key factor in my opinion. If you develop something unique or even dress up something in a unique manner, it feels to me it’s more likely to be remembered.

In the Storytelling workshop with Kevin Brooks, he told us that we need to craft our audience. One of the key points Kevin made was about Imagery, how we should use images when telling stories to bring the experience to be more sensorial. That words don’t count, images do. When you tell a story, people are not building plots, they’re building images. Images make stories more vivid in the head of the audience. So we all should be “Imagetellers” instead.

If that is true, shouldn’t we try to think about more visual interfaces, with very simple animations just to tell a story (being very careful on this one) or how to get the interface to be more sensorial? It seems to me that if we do that, the product will stick to memory with ease and people can build up images from that.

One other key point in Kevin’s speech is that the storyteller has to connect with passion if he wants to have the audience.

If we bring back from april’s MX Conference the talk from Chip Heath, author of “Made to Stick”, we’ll remember that ideas that stick have the following:

- Simplicity
- Uniqueness
- Credible
- Concreteness
- Emotional
- Story

Look how it converges:
- The imagery Kevin told us about brings Concreteness and addresses the sensorial side, thus the Emotional;
- When you connect to passion, your story gets credible. People see it;
- We are conveying ideas as stories here, so check the Story bullet;
- Uniqueness comes from Don Norman’s speech in my opinion, as I have already stated;
- Simplicity. Well, I’ve heard from all of them, read lots of times and have my own personal flag waving to my team and colleagues;

Now let’s put this whole post in a blender. Check how we always relate to emotional states or in the end, that’s what counts.

So I think all of us, UX designers, should give priority in understanding psychology and how to connect with people, instead of going freestyle or just following the products and technology that found their place in the sun.

13 08.2008 • •

comments reply
my.friends visit