Let me tell you a story...
Every day millions of people publish new ‘stories’ which are supposed to distribute understanding to the consumers. It might be a proposal for a new product, an advertising of a new feature, a technical report regarding a medical study etc. The problem is that not all the storytellers know how to transform their ideas into a meaningful and clear story. That might put the entire project into a risk and not just a single people but the whole team might be affected by the lack of ‘storytelling’ skills. Jason Tufree is a founder of QA Editing and he’s a professional storyteller. He perfectly knows his clients’ problems even though they don’t realize they have them.
Role in a project
UX, UI and graphic designer, Interaction Designer. Lead concept definition, ideation. As the designer, my challenge was to help client visualize and emphasize the importance of storytelling. The best way to do this was to tell the story.
Tools and processes
Photoshop and Illustrator
What problems does it solve?
Authors want to share their ideas and make them clear for readers. Most of the people live in their internal world they’re familiar with. Some things became so obvious and people around so comfortable that they forget that outside of their shell is ‘another’ world with ‘different’ people and a lot of things might differ: perception, biases, culture etc. Jason helps to identify and prevent common mistakes, to make a storie clear and perceivable for consumers.
Who do people solve problem today?
Actually, it's a critical question for our client. Those people who know they have problems just hire specialists like Jason. Our client found that a lot of people have 'a fear of editors' and he even found a kind of disease which he called 'Editophobia',
It's more than just logo design
Additionally to the conceptual part of the project I was responsible for the graphic design and UI part of this project.
When I have a chance to start a new project from scratch and client needs a broad scope of my help, I really like to start graphic part from designing a logo. A logo is a face of the project. Sometimes, all the information that might be on a business card is a contact details and company logo. If the business card is solving the main problem which it should: provide clear contact information and sign of whom it belongs to, then logo became kind of signature of it owner.
My first concept was to make my client superhero. His mission: protect the publishers against nasty mistakes which might attack them. So he has super costume and superpower: magic pencil and sharp brain.
Initial idea was good but a bit trivial :)
I'm not my client, but I following his steps.
Why people need my client’s service - Authors want to share their ideas and make them clear to readers. Jason helps to identify and prevent common mistakes, make stories clear and perceivable. He is going through the script and he knows where the problems might appear, he has special tactics of investigating the problems. When the problem is defined it’s much easier to solve it.
My hero is not just problem-solver he is problem-finder!
Whom people hire when they need to investigate and find what they’re looking for but they don’t wanna make it publicly? They’re not calling the police, they hire a private detective (I've never hired one but I supposed that how it works). So we come up to the idea of using detective character to tell the story. Dick Tracy was quite famous detective character in the early 80’s. Based on this idea I’ve designed a logo and the entire style of the project was quite clear from this point.
I simplified logo, made it more graphical and found new super skill: highlighting the problems. So I changed the hero's weapon to a flashlight.
Decide, sketch, repeat
Target users we need to focus on:
- Academic institutions
- Trade associations
- Private companies
- U.S. Government departments
The most critical issue people have:
- Unclear writing
- Poor organization
- Grammatical errors
Simple navigation, single purpose page, clear flow...
To navigate through the pages we gave user one action-button which is always lead to the next step. Each page has its own purpose and answering one single question. During this journey a user step by step going through the entire story. We also added a sitemap where a user can jump to any chapter or check how many steps left by the end.
We split down the whole story to the logical steps. Similar to the book structure we had: Beginning, Middle (Exposition + Crisis + Climax), End.
As we’ve got an idea of using Dick Tracy movie, the comics series about him was really popular as well. Each comic tells a complete story. Based on series of illustrations and dialogs a reader understands idea fast and smoothly. Information perceives easier when it goes together with the visual content.
The website itself became a well-structured story with the logical chapters which answer the questions:
What this about?
Who is this made for?
What will happen if you won’t care about your story?
How exactly can QA editing solve the issue?
Visual design was a big part of this project. Loud titles, clear messages, funny pictures are emphasized the messages visually. I used Photoshop and Illustrator to design mockups and I used InvisionApp to make it interactive and for showing progress of the project to the customer.
Screen by screen user is going through the steps where he finally should decide whether he need this service and contact QA editing.
Somebody, call the doctor!
That what people do when somebody or themselves feels bad. If you feels like you need help with your project, you ought to do the same. But who needs those doctors, anyway?
Just imagine, you have a great project you were working on so hard and you gonna sell it to the big investor who can support it. You are waiting for an elevator and here is coming the Guy which you came to meet and he say: 'I don't have time next two years and my helicopter waiting for me on the roof'. You're entering and here you go: Just you and your chance.
What is your project's elevator pitch?
What is my project about?
Who is the project’s audience?
Why do you need my project?
If you can't answer those questions during your elevator journey you might lose a chance to catch the chance. Next time the guy might remember you as noisy person with stupid story.
This is the great exercise which every storyteller should do. I absolutely should borrow and use it next time, because my client knows perfectly his ‘Elevator pitch’.
To engage users more I designed a simple and fun quiz with the questions which supposed explicitly leads a user to the logical choice of using QA editing.
Live story is there qaediting.com
By building output I've got an amazing outcome
I absolutely fell in love with 'Elevator pitch' idea. What is your project about? Who is the project’s audience? What value does your project provide? That's a good questions to understand what is your story. Try it next time when you will be using elevator and you won't miss your chance when it came.
Another thing which I learned during this project: self-confidence could mislead you out of user-centered design and user-driven development process.