So What’s Your Story

Session Title

So What’s Your Story


Stephen Anderson, PoetPainter

Session Type: Presentation

Conscious or not, we understand the world through narrative experiences. So here’s the question: “What’s your Story?” Why should we care about using/building/investing in your technology product?

This is probably the most important question that often goes unanswered when designing and developing new products. Yet when we get this right–when we lead with a vision–decisions are so much easier to make; we are all aligned around a shared goal: Get a man on the moon; Make taxes fun; Connect the world’s information. Whatever it is, we have a reason to be. Your product becomes more than moving parts. This is of course not a new topic. But where most presentations stop at the importance of a shared story, we’ll walk through how to determine and create this for your team.

In this presentation, we’ll examine the shared vision behind several successful products and what effect this had on the design process. We’ll explore what makes a story resonate with people and how to find the memorable story for your own product. As an added bonus (and to add a new twist to a topic that is 1,000s of years old) we’ll look at “design tenets” which characterize a story and provide specific design direction. Specific tips for identifying and articulating these tenets in a way that anchors and inspires the design process will be reviewed in detail.

So what’s your story? Start there before you do anything else!


Stephen P. Anderson is a product strategy and design consultant who helps large companies create valuable customer experiences.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Stephen spent more than a decade growing and leading teams of information architects, interaction designers and UI developers in the creation of all types of interactive experiences, bringing value to clients such as Nokia, Frito-Lay, Sabre Travel Network, and Chesapeake Energy as well as smaller technology startups.

Stephen is passionate about elegant design, remarkable customer experiences and managing maverick teams — topics he loves to write and speak about. In addition to consulting, he is in the process of doing research for a book that will teach businesses how to attract and manage rockstars, superheroes and other misfits.

As time permits, Stephen enjoys sharing his thoughts at


  1. Posted September 22, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Yes. Looking forward for this delight.

  2. Posted September 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Good to see someone tackling the “narrative” portion of IxD that occurs when the information seeking part has ended. A nice tie in with your other presentation on Warm, Fuzzy, Data