Tell a good story with UX
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Published on March 12, 2014
The ability to tell a good story is important in a broad range of careers. Educators, for instance, use their ability to communicate complex ideas to students every day, using everything in their arsenal to impart their wisdom intelligibly. Even people who work in the hard sciences, such as physics and biology, typically develop research-based theories that other people will read, and unless this information is structured in a digestible way, the meaning might get lost.
In the design world, the same principle of efficient communication applies. Whether you're learning how to transform ideas into interactive moving graphics or are honing your website creation skills, the User Experience (UX) guiding this process should help you narrow down the best way to tell a story, no matter how simple or complex it may be.
UX and Web design
For example, consider what it takes to move from one landing page to another. Knowing where to place the mouse to call up important information might feel innate, but that's because the person who crafted the website knew a thing or two about UX structure. According to Design Through Storytelling, one of the most challenging decisions designers must make is determining how to orient information from start to finish so that the target audience - and even individuals who might be visiting by happenstance - are capable of understanding the intent.
Determining the purpose of your site or app
When deciding what should go into a Web design, you need more than brand information or a color scheme. A UX designer needs to understand the purpose of the site - is it going to sell something? inform?
Just as good stories have great characters, a strong UX is built on personas. Part of the role of a UX designer involves creating representative samples of who will be visiting a site or using an app, and why they are using it. Using personas, a successful app or website makes it easy for you to complete what you want, all in just a few clicks or taps.
As you become more practiced at making these kinds of decisions, the idea of telling a story through design might help you understand how people relate to new information. Consider taking a few UX classes from the experts at The American Graphics Institute to learn more about this process.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.