Posts tagged “values”

Why Stories Matter (to the practice of user research)

This post by Sasha Dichter articulates so well what drove me to write Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries – why forwarding a culture of storytelling in user research is essentially to continuing to develop the field.

Storytelling, then, is not simply narrative. It is an opportunity to communicate values in a way that is resonant and memorable, allowing the listener to position herself in the story, see its relevance to her current situation, and then play forward a narrative about her role in the story of now.

How does this happen? It happens through stories in which a human protagonist is presented with an unknown and has to make a choice. At this moment of choice, the listener feels the tension of what might go right and wrong, projects herself into that situation and, in so doing, experiences the values with which the protagonist wrestles.

This is why it our job to find our own stories, to explore the values that move us to act, and to practice uttering words that help others see and feel what we see and feel. This is the work of finding the language to describe the choices we have made and are making in service of our work, so that others can feel the hope that we feel, and so that they can learn to use this hope to deal with their fears, including fear of acting on our behalf.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] What the Luddites Really Fought Against [Smithsonian Magazine] – [Conniff re-contextualizes the term "Luddite" for the digital age. Rather than a rejection or ignorance of technology, being a Luddite is about deliberately and continuously questioning its role in our lives.] The original Luddites lived in an era of “reassuringly clear-cut targets—machines one could still destroy with a sledgehammer”, making them easy to romanticize. By contrast, our technology is as nebulous as “the cloud,” that Web-based limbo where our digital thoughts increasingly go to spend eternity. The original Luddites would answer that we are human. Getting past the myth and seeing their protest more clearly is a reminder that it’s possible to live well with technology, but only if we continually question the ways it shapes our lives. It’s about small things, like cutting the cord, shutting down the smartphone and going out for a walk. But it needs to be about big things, too, like standing up against technologies that put money or convenience above other human values.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Observed: The Death of the File System? [Johnny Holland] – [The question of digital file management and navigation is one we find ourselves pondering here from time to time. Our mobile lifestyle and shift to an app-oriented way of interfacing with devices suggests that a new vision for navigating files is in order. But in the end, is the staid but flexible file-folder metaphor holding up OK?] “Projects” are just one type of organizational scheme. As a user experience designer, I’ve seen a lot of professionals in other fields organizing a lot of stuff in a lot of different ways. So even attempts at inter-app organization around the concept of a project, such as Microsoft’s Project Center, are not effective replacements for an infinitely flexible organization scheme like simple folders. …We still need a high-level organization system of some kind. And that is the challenge. It’s a challenge because that problem has already been solved by the file system. The challenge is to solve it better.

ChittahChattah Quickies

What values do you tie your brand to?

Every week we sit down for humor/drama/angst/sorrow/disbelief with Rescue Me (starring Denis Leary as a substance-abusing, sex-addicted, post-9-11-traumatized death-wish-harboring fireman). Every week runs an ad that tries to link their brand to the Rescue Me brand.

Yes, The site that says “Last year alone, more than 500,000 singles found meaningful relationships through’s online personals and singles ads.” Meaningful relationships? Have they ever watched Rescue Me? Here’s some of the “meaningful relationships” that the show has dealt with

  • Denis Leary’s character (Tommy Gavin) lives across the street from his estranged wife, and does some very nasty stuff to sabotage her relationship (I seem to recall the man being framed for some credit fraud)
  • Tommy’s brother takes up with the same estranged wife, and Tommy seems to rape her (but maybe she’s willing?) in response (oh, and the brother is killed and the wife has his baby)
  • In parallel, Tommy takes up with the Sheila, the widow of his cousin (killed on 9-11) and they are on again and off again (violently) when she shacks up with a physically abusive lesbian
  • Tommy gets involved with the woman who teaches Sheila’s son, who is also having sex with the son
  • After finding his wife in bed with another fireman, one firefighter decides to “rescue” a prostitute from the life, only she scams him for his life savings
  • He becomes an alcoholic, then gets involved with a nun who is leaving her calling but ends it when he can’t keep up with her voracious and unemotional sexual demands

This barely scratches the surface. The storylines move far and wide, but you no doubt get the point. How does this really fit with what is offering? could be a way to avoid having your life turn out this way, but that’s not how it’s presented.

Seems like stupid advertising to me.


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