How you tell the story matters: telling better stories and making better technologies

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B302/303

Excerpt

What happens when we tell stories? How do we tell stories about the technology we build, why do some stories get told over others? How do we talk about our successes, and how do we not talk about our failures? Whose stories get heard: how do women, people of color, disabled people, and “non-technical” workers get left out of the stories we hear? In this talk, I'll explore the role of storytelling in technology, and share what I've found about telling better stories.

Description

Technologies all have stories behind them, some we hear, some we don’t. From the genesis of a product idea, to the way that technologists characterize their work, to documentation, to startup origin stories. Development frameworks operationalize stories as a way to specify functions; the story of a product or release tends to adhere to a certain narrative. How do stories sell technologies?

What about the way that we tell stories matters? Why do some stories get told over others? How do we talk about our successes, and how do we not talk about our failures? Whose stories get heard: how do women, people of color, disabled people, and “non-technical” workers get left out of the stories we hear?

In this talk, I’ll explore some of the ways that stories and storytelling are used in building, selling, and buying technologies. I’ll share what I’ve found as a design researcher in looking at stories in technology, and propose some practical solutions for telling better stories and using them in building products.

Tags

user experience, data, storytelling, narrative, product management, business development, selling things

Speaking experience

I've spoken and presented at academic conferences such as ASIST and CHI, and recently presented at the Write The Docs conference. I'm a frequent workshop facilitator who organizes trainings and discovery sessions for clients and professional groups.

Speaker