Step 1: Create a product that resonates with your audience’s life

Before you start, you need to know who your target users are. This can be done by conducting market and user research. When you have sufficient data, then you can create different user personas. A user persona is a fictional character that uses your product. Each user persona represents a group of people to share the same characteristics. Let’s look at the example below:

Persona 1: Jessica

1. Jessica is 30 years old, a busy working mom with a 2 years old son.

2. She works full time and has no time for shopping. She does most of her shopping online.

3. She enjoys cooking and likes the healthy eating style.

If you are tasked with designing an app for an online supermarket, how would your app to give her a great user experience?

Here are some features that come up in my head:

1. Since she is busy working mom, a suggested shopping list would be handy for her, the shopping list would be based on her shopping history.

2. Jessica has a family and most families have a monthly budget, it would be useful for her to know how much money she spends on food, household products, baby products and so on each month.

3. Jessica loves cooking, recipes would be a great addition to the app, especially something like 30 mins meals and healthy family dinner.

4. Since Jessica’s life is busy, it would help her if the app accepts monthly invoice so she can pay for her food, once a month.

If you are Jessica and you find this app online, you would instantly think “this app would save my life!” right?

When creating a user persona, don’t forget the full profile of it. A full profile includes but not limited to following:

The occupation
Marital Status
Goals (how can your product help)
Pain points
Possible objections

Creating a user persona is exactly the same as writing a story — you need to know your audience. You need to speak to your audience so they could resonate with you, your product and your brand.

Step 2: Use plot and conflict to make your story more gripping

Every story needs a plot — so does your product. So how to create a plot for your product to make your users stick to it?

A plot is a journey of how your users experience when using your product and a conflict is a challenge your users face and they hope that your product is the solution. Let’s go back to the online supermarket app example.

Jessica first knew about the online supermarket app on TV after a long day at work, she is tired and just noticed that she had nothing in the fridge for dinner. She ordered takeaway and while she was waiting for her food, she downloaded the app. Below is her journey when trying out the app:

1. Before she started using the app, there was a brief questionnaire to help her set up her profile. The questionnaire includes simple questions like the number of family members, cooking style and so on.

2. After that she could start doing her online shopping. There’s a tab with suggested products and another tab with suggested recipes. She could even put the ingredients in her shopping cart.

3. For frequently used products, like diapers, she was offered an option to subscribe so the online supermarket delivers them every month — she wouldn’t have to worry about running out of them.

4. When she checked out, she was offered a choice to pay with her credit card or a monthly invoice.

After checking out — her takeaway arrived, perfect timing!

In the above example, Jessica’s challenge is: there’s no food in the fridge. Her shopping flow is the plot: Profile setup > Add products to cart > Checkout. The twists are the little extra you added to the flow, like the brief questionnaire, the suggested products & recipes and subscription option. These delight your users and make their life easier. When designing your product, think about the overall flow — is it smooth and frictionless? Can you add something extra to delight your users along the way?

Step 3: A good story needs at least one main character and a supporting role

How can a story become a story without any character? If you think your product is the main character, then you are wrong. The main character should be your users as they lead the story you are telling. Your product is the supporting role and it helps transform your main character’s life, to a better one. As in any story, these two roles co-exist. Without the main character, your story loses its focus. Without the supporting role, your main character cannot shine. Just like your product, without the users, you will have no direction when designing your product. Without your product, your users’ life will be dull.

Step 4: Create a great setting to assist your

Setting in a story has two main elements — time and location. During your design , you need to understand when and where your users need your product. In the online supermarket app example, Jessica is a busy working mom, most likely she would like to do her shopping while she’s waiting for something, on the go, etc. The suggested shopping items list saves her time and being able to check out using monthly invoice makes it easier to shop on the bus, for instance. Who wants to take out their credit card on the bus when everyone can see the card details?

Step 5: Finally don’t forget the aesthetic elements in your story

When you go to a bookstore, unless you already knew which book you’re going to buy, you mostly like would go for something with an attractive cover, a nice title and perhaps how the papers feel. Don’t underestimate the impact of small things like colours, fonts and layout— the combination of all these three elements create the very first impression of your product, reinforce your storytelling and design.

Based on the user personas you create, you can design these three elements based on them. For instance, if your user persona is a stylish fashion buyer, this group of users would not be attracted to an app that looks like a news site.


A compelling story can shape how other people see you. Their perception of you will determine whether they’ll read your great content, comment on your blog posts, refer others to your blog or your social media channels, hire you or buy from you. — Neil Patel

Storytelling has lots of benefits for a business— it enhances engagement, improves user experience, makes your users become your brand advocates. When it comes to design — it helps you speak to your users and create something that makes your users’ life easier and delightful. The true beauty of a great design is not on the outside, it lies within the solution that your product provides.

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