Maite Otano | Design & UX Researcher

Ever since we were small, our parents or grandparents would tell us exciting stories of children flying to confront evil pirates, and mysterious stories where chocolate houses don't turn out to be what they seem. These stories, in such tender time of our lives, are a fundamental part of our intellectual development, and help us to understand complicated concepts which would be very difficult to comprehend otherwise.

Throughout our lives, there are many occasions in which stories take the lead, stories that, without us realising it, end up becoming part of our social development. And storytelling is something intrinsic in the human being, a resource that attracts and impassion us, both for relating with others, as well as for pursuing professional goals.

A scientifically based and rational tool that builds a 100% emotional bond

Despite what they may seem, storytelling has a totally scientific and rational basis which trigger a reaction in users that is totally emotional. The stories produce neural connections in the part of our brain that is responsible for empathy and cooperation and, at the same time, activate our cortex, which is the part of the brain that is triggered when we experience situations at first hand.

How can we take advantage of the stories to design products and services?

Storytelling is transmitting what we want to tell through stories that excite and engender empathy and closeness with users, making them identify with our message and remember it. That is to say, our idea lives on and becomes memorable.

Storytelling, a tool that is often related to the world of marketing for its ability to work on the bond with potential clients and investors.

Also is very effective in the world of design and conceptualisation, as it helps creative teams to understand the needs and situations experienced by the users for those who design, making it possible to visualise complicated processes in a simple and tangible way.

In the same way that storytelling is present in many moments of our day-to-day lives, it is a resource that we can use for different purposes when it comes to designing new products and services.

People tool: Storytelling for getting to know the user we want to address.

The history of design is full of concepts, products and services that, despite appearing very promising, finally did not arouse any interest in the users. This is due in part to the fact that the nature, context, aspirations or barriers to which the targeted users face each day were not considered during the creation of the value proposal.

People tool is a method to structure the data which makes up the history and context of our target audience.

By compiling this information in a comprehensible and structured way, creating profiles of generic users that allow us to understand our target better, we can constantly verify, during the product or service development process, if our solution is adapted to what people really want and need.

create user profiles

Creating user profiles will allow us to know our target better

User Journey tool: Stories that help us find opportunities to delight our client.

The relationship of people with the products or services that we offer, be it a headset, a mobile app or patient care in a hospital, goes far beyond the moment of use of what we offer. This relationship begins when they hear about us and can last over time until well beyond the useful life of the product.

These relationships are long and complex experiences, but if we know how to organise them in the right way, they will become stories that can open the door to new opportunities with which to strengthen relations between our brand and our client.

The User Journey tool allows us to break down the user experience, identifying what affects them, what their expectations are, how satisfied they are, etc. In other words, it allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of our users. By analysing it, we can identify at what moments we can improve our relationship, offer or service, and generate moments that satisfy them beyond their expectations.

workshop organised by LÚCID

User journey, held in a workshop organised by LÚCID

Storyboard tool: Storytelling to verify ideas and identify inconsistencies in our offer.

Comic strips and short stories with bullet points can transport us to unusual places, and live exciting situations through the eyes of heroes, explorers or other unique characters every step of the way.

The storyboard, like the movie scripts or the comics that we read as children (and why not, sometimes also as adults) allows us to describe step by step and in a very visual way, the users' life story, how they relate to a product or service, and how it fits into their day-to-day activities.

The exercise of representing each moment of this experience through bullet points linked and arranged chronologically, will allow us to communicate through a language accessible to all, what are all the stages that a person lives through when using our product, using our service, or being part of some process.

Therefore, this technique enables us to communicate what are specifications and benefits of our product, both to "sell" internally in our company and get support for our initiatives, as well as to show our ideas to the target users and verify to them quickly and economically, if It can be an agreeable process for them.

The Storyboard allows us to even identify possible moments or difficulties that we had not thought about and require more attention or development.


Storyboard that illustrates and contextualises a service. Source: Adobe Blog

Storytelling to excite and attract the potential client

A good storytelling in the design phase can open up future communication with the potential consumers of the product during its promotion. If we work well on storytelling through the tools presented, we will have a clear idea of who we communicate to, what their needs are, and how we can create a story that is conducive to emotional bonding and, at the same time, work on the person-brand relationship so necessary for success of our future service or product.

storytelling AIRBNB

Airbnb uses storytelling as an axis in its communication

In short, in terms of product design and service,__ storytelling is a very effective technique which, if utilised well from the beginning,__ can be the basis for a strategic positioning for success and a solid brand-user relationship.

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