An exploration of the possibilities and potentialities of interactive storytelling applied to design

Designers have passed from being problem-solvers to storytellers. In this new paradigm, scenarios play a central role. They narrate the user journey, acting as a communication and prototyping tool, forming the core part of many design processes.

Providing a visual narration of a user experience, scenarios are a relatively cheap way to prototype the desirability of a concept. But usually they are linear stories that are often a fairytale version of the user journey and far from the usage of a product/service that would happen in real life. Usually users are asked to evaluate these stories with a ‘thumb-up/thumb-down’ system. But, what would happen if the users can evaluate and modify the final shape of a scenario, based on their skills, biographies, and emotions? What kind of feedback would come out from this co-writing experience?

The outcome of these questions gave shape to a service called OpenScenarios. The service allows designers to negotiate scenarios with users. It consists of a web-platform where designers are able to force a clear visualisation of their scenarios and to prototype their ideas with a big audience. The service also provides a community-database of users organised according to activities, age, hobbies and other attributes that designers can use to reach a specific audience for their prototyping sessions.

Through OpenScenarios designers are able to create and share multiple-choices scenarios, where users will be able to evaluate different aspects of a concept and to suggest new configurations of its features. In this way, designers will share their skills and imaginations while users will share their needs, desires and personal expertise – using scenarios as a catalyst for the debate.

Designers will earn concrete feedback on deciding concept features, understanding why people desire them or not, and the users will participate in the innovation process, having the opportunity to articulate opinions and thoughts, hopefully having a good time whilst doing it. The future will be a negotiation.

Adviser: Niels Clausen-Stuck