Let me tell you a story…

Pratik Joglekar
Sep 24, 2017 · 3 min read

Brand was walking towards a tavern on a dirt road drenched and soaked in rain. He saw the tavern from the corner of his eye. On the outside it looked rough, unfriendly and depressing. Logs and intricate wooden carvings made up most of the building’s outer structure. The windows were dusty, it was hard to see if there was any life inside. As he entered the tavern slamming the saloon doors it made a screeching noise of the rusted bolts. A bartender wiping glasses looked up and froze in amusement. The place was loud, but the moment Brand entered it became quiet. One could hear only the cracking noise of the wooden floor as Brand walked towards the counter. He gave the bartender a very intimidating look. A sweat bead rolled down the bartender’s forehead as he took a gulp. Suddenly…

Was this compelling enough a set up to hook your attention and paint a scene in your mind? “Make me care” Andrew Stanton exclaimed in his Ted talk aptly sums up this situation. The audience needs to be curious and interested about the story. They need to be connected to a story so that they can empathize better. Storytelling as an art form is mastered by people over the years. From stone age when the stories were painted on the cave walls to theater screens. Emotion is the driving force of any story. Any piece which connects to a person emotionally is appreciated on a higher level. A story can be as silly as a house lifted by bunch of balloons and is flying all the way to Venezuela as shown in the movie Up. This may sound absurd and unbelievable but once you are immersed in the way the story is told, you easily start believing it. Up is about an old man who loved his wife so much that he did the unimaginable by flying his house to live near the picturesque view of Angel falls in her memory. This movie perfectly reflects that stories are driven by emotional motivations and intentions and in order to align the audience to the story you are telling, it is important that you create an intense involvement by dramatizing it .

“Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.” William Archer

Plot diagram

The story begins, with an introduction. Builds up overtime to a cliffhanger situation and drops the hammer for a resolution. The climatic point is where the story connects or breaks. Building an experience is similar to that of building a story. Designers need to consider user’s emotions while designing a story for them. The process of creating a story starts from

  1. Interviewing people

Understanding what people think and have to say. The idea is to connect the dots and figure out the innate thoughts to which they relate on an emotional level.

2. Analyzing information and persona

The information which can then be used to build fictitious characters which will help designers build the story.

3. Building the character’s journey

This is where a story is laid out in which the user is expected to reach a certain goal. These stories are then verified, which facilitates the next process.

4. Wireframe and prototyping

This is the visualization of the story in a form of recognition. To understand if the story actually works. If it does not, a re-iteration process is conducted in which the story is modified. Later the process of finalizing and putting in the final bits to it starts.

5. Visuals and code

This is the bit where the final pieces of the story are put together. The icing on the cake or the final touch ups, the presentation part as well as the functionality of it.

This is the story of how the story is built. But the story designer’s expect people to empathize with, are the products they design. This is not where the story ends, it continues as the user interacts with the product. And the best part about digital story telling is that the narative can be changed over time.

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