Thinking Like a Storyteller

Session Title

Thinking Like a Storyteller


Cindy Chastain/Rapp

Session Type: Presentation

As interaction designers we do well at facilitating the complex dialogue between people and the interactive products they use. But we often neglect to consider the story that evolves through the interactions people have with the things we make.  Designing with a narrative in mind can make a difference between a product that merely functions well and a product that engages the minds, emotions and imaginations of users.
Drawing on personal experience, narrative theory and examples ranging from interactive products to film, this presentation is a call to action for designers to equip themselves with a deeper understanding of narrative techniques. We’ll focus on core aspects such as theme, scene-making, and sequencing to illustrate how thinking like a storyteller can make you a better designer. You’ll also learn how this approach can be a powerful basis for holistic design.


Cindy has been exploring ways to engage an audience through storytelling, teaching, writing and design for over twelve years. Just recently she took on the role of Creative Director, Experience Architecture at Rapp, a global, full-service agency based in NYC. She’s led projects for clients ranging from BBC Worldwide to Showtime, Fuse, Madison Square Garden, Coca-Cola and Unilever.
Cindy earned an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University in New York and a BS in Radio, TV, Film from Northwestern University. In addition to moonlighting as a filmmaker and screenwriter, she is in the process of researching a book that explores how the elements of story can be used as a framework for design. She also coordinates UX Bookclub NYC.