People say that when you’re genuinely happy, when you’re lost in the moment enjoying what you do, there’s no way to hide how you feel; it’s obvious in your facial expressions, in how you interact with others, and—of course—in the quality of your work.
Well, I’m not there yet, but it’s something I work on. Every day.
After finishing a mobile app project addressing the issue of missed lunches due to high workloads and irregular hours, I needed a way of presenting the problems faced by my target users, and of explaining the solutions I introduced in the final prototype.
I knew that such a product presentation should focus on the benefits for my end users, that I should communicate the problems they faced and how these were addressed in my solution and that, as part of all this, I should consider the emotional impacts on the people who would be actually using the app. A simple bulleted list might achieve most of these things, actually pretty much all of them… except for meaningfully communicating how the users felt during the experience. I needed something more.
This is when I remembered the power of motion pictures, or video as we are more likely to use today. Filmmakers can make us feel empathy for their heroes and heroines, taking us on a dramatic journey from problem to resolution using the power of storytelling—if done right.
So, this gave me a goal to work towards. After a long process of exploring and discarding ideas… I finally had my lightbulb moment; the cinematic masters of the old days could make an audience laugh, even without the use of sound, simply by framing the action in the right way at the right time, adding a bit of music to enhance the mood, and we’re in business!
Storytelling is meaningful because it enables us to explore emotions and experiences as if we were there ourselves. That communicates much more effectively than a mere list of benefits. How many times have you laughed at a stand-up comedy show? The exploration of important issues, usually a serious business, can engage us much more wholeheartedly if it is simply presented in a non-threatening way. From bad news and tough decisions, through to the presentation of a digital product, it’s the experience we create for our audience that will determine how successful we are in the end. And it is our attitude as creators that can have a huge impact on the experiences we design.
So, we should remember to believe in and enjoy what we do, what we propose, what we advocate for. This little video of mine was the result of a playful experiment, providing a few laughs for me and the viewers so far.
After all, when we are happy, people can tell. And I’m doing my best to be that kind of person. Every day.