IN THE PATH OF STORYTELLERS

toukokuu 22, 2013 // Ville Pohjola

At the ancient times there was a group of professionals who wandered between villages and acted as a communication channel. These men, storytellers, formed interesting stories about everything they heard and experienced. Their way to communicate was speech. Sort of radios they were, these brave vagabonds.

Some phase people started to think whether these stories should be written somewhere, to be documented and shared more widely. That was the starting point for books. Storytellers had so great imagination that there was short step from their stories to fairytales. Here in Finland we had a guy called Elias Lönnrot wandering and writing down these fairytales.

That started the time where writers were found. Writers, professional ones, got lot of work for hundreds of years. World is full of old writings, as you know.

Also UI designers started as writers. Somebody might still remember the time at the end of 1990’s and those huge UI specifications. Interaction designer was actually a UI specifier. The title tells it all. The most important thing was to document the UI as exactly as possible. That was the way to communicate the innovative idea for software engineers and product marketing. You know: “There exists a button A in the screen. If user presses the button with short press button event, the action X is launched….” There were written hundreds of pages technical documentation about great ideas. If something, that killed the innovation.

Anyway, the point is that UI designers have always been also storytellers. They try to create interesting stories about the user, the software and the interaction between these two. UI designers try to express themselves and their ideas in best possible way by telling user stories. So, storytelling is the crucial part of the UI design.

But how to do it in the most effective way? Long textual stories are time consuming to read. There might be sometimes difficulties to understand what the writer tries to say. Sometimes it is difficult to show the value of the idea by writing it open. An image tells more than thousand words but the static image has also often boundaries. Well, for that there was developed the simulation. But, the simulation has also some limits. You need to know how to use it before you can understand the story behind it. Somebody must tell the story to you first. So, simulation is only a dummy piece of the story.

Actually, why I am trying to write this open? Check the video below and you will understand my point. Video is more than 10.000 words.

https://youtu.be/SG82S9XYdY4