26 top storytelling tips we use to make your UX brilliant

Invision recently shared a load of top storytelling tips from the ex-Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats. Many of them have a bearing on creating top class User Experiences, AKA UX. We thought it’d be useful to summarise them here, using them as a base for a series of guidelines that inspire us to creative greatness.

When you work with us, this is what sits behind the website design and web development scenes.

How we create uniquely attractive and powerful UXs

  1. Perfection isn’t immediate. It comes as a result of an intelligent ongoing process, where ideas are honed carefully bearing in mind the client’s brief and the users’ needs.
  2. The audience are the most important people in the process. When designing and creating a website we put your audience’s needs and expectations first.
  3. What’s the essence of the story? Once you know that, you can establish the most economical, logical and effective way to represent it visually and digitally.
  4. What’s the essence of your product? What’s the most economical version of it, the simplest way to express it?
  5. Looking fantastic isn’t enough. Good looks might not be what your audience wants. We rely on knowledge gleaned from analytics and research, not intuition.
  6. Burning belief is never a bad thing. Passion, conviction and belief drive exceptional user experiences when supported by evidence and logic.
  7. Perfection is good, but not when it comes at the expense of the vision at the core of your offering.
  8. A constant process of simplification, with regular refocusing, doesn’t mean you lose valuable stuff. It means you’re set free.
  9. Unnecessary complication harms a marketing message. Stick to the essence, don’t be tempted to try to be ‘everything to everyone’.
  10. Never forget the core problem the website is tasked with resolving.
  11. Putting thoughts and ideas on paper makes them real. Until you do, they don’t really exist.
  12. Imagine the perfect UX and identify the problems you need to solve for users. What is the optimal experience?
  13. Look outside the box to see if there are any problems to solve that you haven’t yet accounted for. If you need to add extra features to solve problems, rigorously evaluate whether they really are necessary.
  14. It makes a lot of sense to figure out the end-point you’re aiming for before figuring out how you’ll get there. Get the ending working first and the rest flows more easily.
  15. Don’t be tempted to fiddle endlessly with things before launch. Finish and launch, then add extra features as they arise. Otherwise you’ll spend your whole life in a state of pre-launch.
  16. As soon as it’s launched, start gauging user reactions to establish what, if any, extras you need to tackle.
  17. If you get stuck, don’t feel you have to stick to your original ideas. Think creatively, throw away the lot and see what comes up, even examining ‘out there’ and unlikely ideas to see what falls out. Some of the best ideas are born through examining what NOT to do!
  18. If you’re working with a team, document and organise everything you discover and have meaningful discussions about it.
  19. Bear in mind the first ideas aren’t always the best – never stick with the first thing that strikes you. When you get the obvious stuff out of the way, amazing things can happen.
  20. Don’t be afraid to have strong opinions and create strong designs.
  21. Give every website a distinct look and feel. There’s no real benefit in playing safe with creativity, since safe is rarely memorable.
  22. Remember that no design is ever wasted time. It’s all part of the essential discovering, testing, discarding and honing process.
  23. Empathy is crucial. If you were the user, how would you feel? Once you stand in the user’s shoes, it’s easier to get rid of frustrations, distractions and design elements that leave people less than satisfied. Identifying with your users and the many unique situations they might find themselves in gives designers a compelling starting point.
  24. Grouping ideas, information and evidence together lets us double-check the client’s priorities and identify any gaps.
  25. Can we break the design? Testing a design until it squeals is the perfect way to identify where users might run into problems. The only way to achieve excellence is to test early and frequently.
  26. It’s no good working in a vacuum. Sanity-testing is invaluable. When you continually check things with your peers, it’s much less likely you’ll miss important issues.

There’s much more to great design than colour, words and images

As you can see, there’s an awful lot more to design excellence and user experience perfection than pretty pictures, eloquent typography, cool colours and neat navigation. Take the above into account and the website you end up with will delight your users, fulfil their needs and be perfectly capable of going the extra mile when necessary. Your business is worth it.