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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let me tell you a story...
There is nothing more persuasive than a well told story. As most User experiences revolve around an action done by a person, to achieve a result, creating a story to illustrate the success or failure of the action is a natural fit. It is also a natural fit for showing the user's motivation in the first place. The place of storytelling in the Usability engineers...
Published on August 20, 2012 by atmj

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13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Basically book about nothing
The book is quite long yet 99% of text is water mixed with obviuous teachings. Just randomly opened a book and got a header "Your own relationship to the story affects your choice of perspective". Indeed it's new, non-obvious and interesting. End of sarcasm.

Honestly, this book can be shortened to little checklist of 3-5 pages. The rest is water.
Published on May 4, 2011 by Vlad Golovach


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let me tell you a story..., August 20, 2012
By 
atmj (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
There is nothing more persuasive than a well told story. As most User experiences revolve around an action done by a person, to achieve a result, creating a story to illustrate the success or failure of the action is a natural fit. It is also a natural fit for showing the user's motivation in the first place. The place of storytelling in the Usability engineers repertoire in many ways you would think is a natural one. However as most usability professionals are trained engineers/scientists the process of developing a story around their process/product may not come so easy. Most engineers are interested in facts and figures and not the softer stuff of storytelling. But facts and figures while being accurate, may not be as compelling as a well crafted story that puts their audience in the shoes of the user, or developing the story further to show the gains to be had in the market place for a more usable product. Let's face it storytelling is also salesmanship.

This book addresses the role of storytelling in both Usability testing, Design and Reporting.
Briefly the chapters are listed below. You can see the subchapters online as you can view inside this book. I've noted where items really grabbed my attention.
Chapter 1: Why Stories
Chapter 2: How UX Stories Work
Chapter 3: Stories Start with Listening (and Observing)
Chapter 4: The Ethics of Stories
Chapter 5: Stories as part of a UX process
Chapter 6: Collecting Stories (as part of UX Research)
*****(walking through tasks as a persona you are more likely to use a product like they would. I have done this many times and it always surprised me what I find independent of the design process)
Chapter 7: Selecting Stories (as part of UX Analysis)
Chapter 8: Using Stories for Design Ideas (how to transform them)
*****(this section had some neat exercises to get you thinking about how stories can relate what you want to tell)
Chapter 9: Evaluating with Stories
Chapter 10: Sharing Stories (Managing Up and Across)
Chapter 11: Crafting a Story
Chapter 12: Considering the Audience
Chapter 13: Combining the Ingredients of a Story
Chapter 14: Developing Structure and Plot
*****(I found this section very useful where it breaks down the kind of stories than are common and how to use them.)
Chapter 15: Ways to tell Stories
Chapter 16: Try Something New

I found this book to be a useful primer on how to use facts to create a story around a product. I think it is natural to do this, but not necessarily what one considers when creating a report. As a participant in many a dry report presentation, I know stories would help the data come alive.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching an essential skill, September 11, 2010
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
Stories persuade, explain and engage and storytelling is one of the most important skills for a design researcher. In this book Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks explain their techniques and approach. The book is in part a collection of stories about using storytelling in design that illustrate how and where stories fit into design. For me, many of the most interesting and useful tips were in looking at the structure of stories (particularly comparing a simply told story with an equally compact but more dynamic, convincing and memorable form). As usual with a Rosenfeld Media book, it's all beautifully presented. Whitney Quesenbery has done a great deal to awaken designers to the power of storytelling. Certainly she's changed the way I approach collecting and reporting user research. This book may do the same for you.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about storytelling in user experience. Inspiring., April 22, 2010
By 
C. Jarrett "forms and usability expert" (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
I've been eagerly waiting for this book ever since Whitney Quesenbery asked me to comment on parts of the book as they wrote it, and I knew that they had chosen to use some of my stories. So as I quickly had my first glance through the book, I couldn't resist looking first at the places where I was mentioned, and came to this story from Whitney:

"The first time I talked about storytelling in public, I was pretty nervous. Debi Parush, Karen Bachmann, and Basil White sat up with me the night before while I ripped up and rewrote the whole presentation. The next morning, I arrived to find a room full of people and Caroline Jarrett sitting in front, notepad at the ready. Terrifying".

And I'd thought I was being friendly and attentive! What she doesn't say is that her presentation was brilliant. I started using stories myself, and I also invited her to teach a workshop at a training event I was organising a few months later. We've been working together on and off ever since.

That story sums up our whole working relationship, based on deep mututal respect, constantly challenging each other to do the best work we possibly can, and occasional dramatic differences in perspective.

Which brings me to my review of the book. I've given it five stars, as you might expect knowing that Whitney and I work together, but I hope my story helps to convice you that despite our association, I'd never do that unless I thought the book thoroughly deserved them.

Chapters 1 through 5 are the first section of the book. They explain how stories work, calling on our shared human experiences that go back to the time before writing when our culture, history, and craft were communicated through stories. Even if you only have time for one chapter, buy this book for chapter 3 "Stories start with listening", which explains the importance of listening and is full of practical tips about how to do it better: as a user experience practitioner, as an employee, as a consultant, as a boss.

Chapters 6 though 10 dive into the practicalities of using stories in user experience design: finding stories, brainstorming with stories, using stories to influence decision-makers, and much more.

And then chapters 11 through 16 are the bit that challenges you to do even better. This book isn't just about using any old story, it's about using the best story you can - and understanding the elements that make it so. To give just one example: if you've wondered why your reports haven't had the impact you wanted, then turn to Chapter 15 for ways that stories can help.

Summary: buy it, read it, use it. You'll improve your user experience designs if you do.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Case Study: Crafting stories to improve my users' experience, October 22, 2010
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
While I am a friend of Kevin's, this book represents my first exposure to his expertise as a user experience professional. I've now put the methods in the book to practical use, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants an easy way to get started in improving user experiences.

I am one of the leading organizers of National Robotics Week, a broad initiative supported by industry, academia and nonprofits to raise public awareness of robotics and to celebrate how robots can help students excel in science, technology, engineering and math. After the first National Robotics Week in April 2010, I started to consider how we might be able to improve the website for 2011. Based on my previous work in human-robot interaction and ethnography, I recognize the importance of understanding the user when developing new technology. I haven't had any formal training in user experience, nor are there any UX specialists working in my division.

Needless to say, the thought of reworking the website was overwhelming. We have many, many different groups with an interest in National Robotics Week -- members of the robotics industry, academic researchers, educators from formal and informal learning settings, students of all ages, robot hobbyists and more. I needed a way to organize the experiences that all of these groups had with using the website in 2010, and I needed a way to do it relatively quickly and inexpensively.

I dove into _Storytelling for User Experience_ enthusiastically. Even without a background in user experience, I was able to understand why stories are important and see how to generate my own. I found the plentiful real-life examples and the summaries at the end of each chapter to be particularly helpful. With the book in hand, my small team and I started generating stories to capture the frustrations people had with the existing site and to brainstorm the experiences we wanted them to have the next year.

Using the techniques presented in the book, we wrote a total of seventeen stories. These stories represented over a dozen personas and included a mix of both success and failure stories. We were able to combine our own experiences as site administrators with the feedback we received from users in a way that helped us see usability issues that we might have missed otherwise. By identifying the issues that appeared in multiple failure stories, we generated a list of the most pressing usability problems; the success stories helped us determine what features would best solve those problems. Based on our team's available time and resources, it was easy to prioritize the problems and features.

We now have our list of most-needed features, and we're currently working on implementing them. Thanks to _Storytelling for User Experience_ , the resulting website will be much easier for visitors to use and for us to administer.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve the usability of the technology they create, and especially to those people like me who don't have a strong user experience background or the resources to hire an expert in user experience. You will find that the book is written clearly and that the storytelling methodology is immediately accessible and useful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling--an indispensable skill for everyone, February 2, 2011
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
This long-needed book hits a home run. An excellent read, written by real experts in the practice of UX design. Through clear and easy-to-understand narrative, the authors artfully convey both the simplicity and the power of this technique. De rigueur for UX practitioners, storytelling is an indispensable skill for anyone. Even President Obama has discovered the power of storytelling [See Time magazine, February 7, 2011, p. 22].
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource even for those without user experience, May 23, 2010
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
This book is a great resource about organizational storytelling-- even for those of us working in other industries and settings. I know I will apply many of the authors' lessons learned to my work in health literacy.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and userfriendly too, May 3, 2010
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
From this book about Storytelling for User Experience, I learned more about Storytelling, even if I read a lots of books on that subject. Also it shows that the writers are working in User Experience (and storytelling) : it is a very easy to read and understand book in itself, 'user friendly' even as a book.

Treating a serious problem with a number of interesting stories, examples, anectodes and a clear text, it is easy to remember too.

I recomend it, and not only to those working in User Experience, like Whitney and my son from which I learned about the subject, but also those wanting to learn about storytelling from another perspective, like me.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seinfeld and the User Experience, May 11, 2010
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
This book captures many of the concepts that I have been working through as a user experience designer and researcher in the field. UX is everywhere. It is seeped deep within our culture, and permeates our perspective on the world. It is there when George needs to eat a pastrami sandwich before sex on Seinfeld, or when Jerry and Kramer drop a junior mint from the balcony down on an operating table during surgery. These sudden and hilarious experiences are stories that provide insight into cultural norms, and by association, application design. It is the stories of the unexpected that make us laugh, or at the very least pay attention. This book provides insight to the step by step process of working directly with end users as well as project stakeholders to discover user requirements for a digital project. The art and craft of storytelling is a direct path in really understanding the myriad ways people interact with a device or application from both an emotional as well as a physical and utilitarian perspective. Read it, share stories with your clients and have fun!
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13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Basically book about nothing, May 4, 2011
By 
This review is from: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design (Paperback)
The book is quite long yet 99% of text is water mixed with obviuous teachings. Just randomly opened a book and got a header "Your own relationship to the story affects your choice of perspective". Indeed it's new, non-obvious and interesting. End of sarcasm.

Honestly, this book can be shortened to little checklist of 3-5 pages. The rest is water.
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