UI/UX Design

Every Great Product Needs a Story

Nathan Allsopp
March 15, 2018

Users are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a new digital product.

Mobile apps, web apps, watch apps, desktop apps, platform for this, platform for that.

However, so many products end up looking and functioning fairly similar — for a user, it’s not always easy to clearly differentiate between many of them initially.

Try it for yourself — try typing “notes” into your App Store search bar and see how many really look different.

We need a great product, but we also need a great story.


Because there are a wide range of factors that influence one’s purchasing decisions that go beyond features or functionality.

Plus, we’re emotional decision makers

Every great product needs a story.

Stories are a great way to tap into one’s emotional side of the purchase decision.

As UX Designers, our deep understanding of the users means we are in a great position to contribute to that story.

Designers running customer interviews/feedback loops have a great insight into why users choose to use a certain product, plus their general feelings around that product.

By speaking to users, we’re able to pinpoint what they like, what they hate, what could be better, what needs fixing, why they purchased, etc.

Consider a note-taking app. You may have particular features that help users achieve X, but you also likely have plenty of emotional-based stories about how your product helps people in their everyday lives.

Lisa loves using your note-taking app it because it keeps her life organised, plus Boris enjoys it because it helps him complete his writing on-the-go.

We can feed these insights and knowledge nicely into the development of a product’s story. Sure, it may be the marketing department’s job primarily — but you can help bring the user’s emotion to life in that story.

It might be just a note-taking app, but for some people it’s what keeps their life organised or is the centre of their writing universe.

As UX Designers, we can ensure that the visuals and the experience that a user has aligns with the story.

If you’re telling stories about your product to a high-end target market, but your product’s experience and visuals don’t match up, users are likely to feel such a story is unauthentic.

Elements such as colours, typography, layouts through to general concepts such as how difficult your product is to use all impact upon how authentic a story feels.

The UX department can help ensure that the story, at each step of the user’s journey, is consistent.

Without consistency, it’s like reading a story with a bunch of pages missing — confusing at best.

Next time you’re thinking product, don’t forget to also think — what’s the story here?

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