Stories help shape reality. It helps paint the past, present, and future. Through stories we can prompt emotions, experiences, and vision. Stories are human.
A great example of how stories can influence, and shape perception can be found in the animated movie “The Croods”.
During two scenes in the movie, we get a glimpse at how good and bad story telling can shape direction, and emotions.
In Grug’s— the patriarch—story, he shares two data points, curiosity and death. His story stays within the problem space, briefly touches on the why, and is based on anecdotal evidence.
In Guy’s—the visionary— story, being aware of the data Grug often shares with his family, he outlines:
The current problem: You can go anywhere within the boundaries set, but never near the cliff because you could fall—death.
User needs: I want to go outside the boundaries—curiosity—because I want to hear, I want to see, I want to feel
Potential Solution: A place where things are better—Tomorrow. A place with more suns in the sky than you can count (24/hr light, so you can watch out for predators, and avoid death).
Guy’s story maps out limitations on the current way of doing things. Addressed the user needs/desire, and outlines a potential solution. It gave the family a “roadmap” based on the now for where they needed to head, and how to identify when they got there.
Stories are a powerful thing when used constructively, and that’s why one of our design principles at Automattic is:
“Search for and tell stories about people, not just data.”
Before diving into making, we spend time listening to our customers stories. We aim to look at the full picture in hopes of understanding their current problem space, their needs/desires, and ways we can help address them. We do this not just by looking at numbers, but by talking to people. We immerse ourselves in their stories in hopes of contextualizing their experience; with the end goal of synthesizing all context into a new narrative that can help them reach their “Tomorrow“*.
*Watch Guy’s story clip for context
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