Narrative UX

Our last session of the day was from Georgina Laidlaw on Narrative UX.

Considering the amount of votes this session had, along with conversations I had – not many of us attending were familiar with the concept (I certainly wasn’t). Learning something completely new was a fantastic way to wrap up the day!

Georgina had us reflect on who writes the words in our products – the labels, the error messages, helpful tips to explain, the navigation, etc. Product? UX? Developers? A combination of lots of people?

Using both Dropbox & Airbnb as examples, she showed us a list of extracted words for certain functionality. What does your list consist of when users login? For signing up to a new account? For searching or saving a item? We use words all the time to try to clarify – do they work?

Product Camp Melbourne 2015

I have to admit, I’ve never looked at the language without the context of seeing it on the page/mobile screen. There was something new, great & freeing about seeing it in a word document. Previously I’ve had to pull together lists like this for translation but they sat in excel with commentary on context or notes like ‘sits in a pop up message, keep it short’. Narrative UX puts the focus on the conversation the product has with the customer.

To drive that home, Georgina had 2 volunteers (Alex & Katherine) come up and have a conversation together – one as Airbnb and the other a customer using the site.

Product Camp Melbourne 2015

Key points from Georgina

  • Narrative UX is ‘writing the words that create our product’s story’
  • Get a writer involved early in the development of functionality
  • Develop brand, marketing & product language style guides

I’d like to add a few additional items from Georgina:

  • Write words that carry the user through the process
  • Have a writer talk with users to understand what words make sense & which they use to describe a scenario
  • You can influence emotions with the narrative & language of the product

Want more? Georgina recommends:, Steph Hay and Jessica Collier

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *