Its about describing convincing narratives about what “happy customers look like”. Crafting a future vision of people with plausible motivations, acting within a real world context, going on a journey with our services that ultimately leads to satisfaction.
If we are lucky (or skillful) the journey actually changes the relationship between our customers and provided services – initiating long term behaviour change that has positive outcomes for “us” and “them” in the future. Methods like developing personas, customer journeys and service design maps attempt to help us get a better grip on the characters, motivations, obstacles and paths to resolution in these stories.
So how do you tell a good story… well as always wikipedia has the answers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction . Here is my super abridged version… the bits i think are most relevant to Experience Design.
Story Telling – the Structure
- Setup – setting is established, characters are introduced. Amongst a range of character types it usually includes the The Protagonist (The driver of the action of the story and therefore responsible for achieving the story’s Objective Story Goal), the Antagonist (The character that stands in opposition to the protagonist)
- Conflict – a necessary element of fiction. Person vs (Him or Himself, Person, Society, Nature, Supernatural, Machine / Technology)
- Climax – It is the moment of greatest danger for the protagonist- presenting a seemingly inevitable prospect of failure. The most important element is that the protagonist experiences a change. The main character discovers something about himself or herself, and another unknown character. The last element is revealing the theme itself.
- Resolution – occurs after the climax, where the conflict is resolved.
Designing Experience Stories
i dont think its to big a stretch to see our consumers as the protagonist, in a story of conflict between man and technology. The conflict arrises as a result of our services acting as the antagonist, presenting potential obstacles and barriers to entry in the path towards service resolution.
Climax (perhaps represented by the protagonist decision point, a moment of opportunity – the realisation that they in fact desire to engage with our services and achieve an outcome, leading to a final “to the death” acquisition battle). Overcoming the antagonist in this battle leads to the protagonist to experiencing change – discovering empowerment and the possibility of success hand in hand with the antagonist.
Resolution occures where the conflicts between consumer and service are … well, resolved. The service no longer presents barriers to entry, it now plays a supporting role for the protagonist in reaching a deeper level of self understanding, enlightenment and fulfillment. Resolution brings about a change, and that change has a lasting impact on consumer and service provider.
Ok, its maybe it is bit of a stretch….. but i think we all need a bit more drama and engagement in design, and this is perhaps one frame that will help us achieve that.