Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

Two questions for Whitney Quesenbery on storytelling


Storytelling is a powerful tool, and thanks partly to a certain book, UX practitioners are using storytelling to supercharge both their research methods and designs. So we’re pleased that Whitney Quesenbery will teach Using Personas and Storytelling Effectively, one of our full-day UX workshops, in Washington DC on May 7.

This is a great opportunity to learn with one of the UX world’s best teachers in an intimate setting (capped at 50 attendees) and at a reasonable price (the $495 early registration rate is good until April 6). Check out Whitney’s workshop description and the brief interview below to preview her perspective on storytelling’s role in UX.

RM: What’s the biggest mistake UX people make when it comes to storytelling?

Whitney Quesenbery: Many people take “storytelling” too literally, looking for a classic short story or other ways of “performing” a story. That’s one kind of storytelling, but there are many more. Like so many other UX concepts, there’s (big) Story—the idea of infusing context, characters, emotion, and imagery into our work—and there’s (little) story, all the ways we can do that, from personas to the narrative arc of an interaction.

RM: What’s one thing you wish you knew about storytelling before you started writing about it?

Whitney Quesenbery: I wish I knew more about ways to use story that aren’t as comfortable for me. That’s why the collaboration with Kevin Brooks was so great. His oral storytelling and use of stories in design innovation complement mine for understanding the user experience.

Since the book came out, I’ve talked about storytelling in UX with a lot of people around the world. It’s been awesome to keep learning from them and trying new ways to incorporate stories into my own work.