A quick look at any of the predicted design trends of 2015 reveals a few common entries, one of which is “storytelling.” The idea itself is rather simple; telling a story means guiding your audience through a set flow of interactive elements that can express some form of information, usually a narrative, in a way that is unique from the typical flow of text on a screen. It’s called story “telling,” but the real strength of the design trend is in how much of the story you can “show” as well.
Starting Out on an Adventure
As with any good story, your storytelling design needs to have a set point that leads the viewer into a bigger field of ideas and concepts. The storytelling flow usually begins with a very brief introduction screen, not unlike a landing page. Calls to action can be placed to indicate how you move forward, but one of the important things to remember is that there should also be very strong visual cues.
The combination of great design and visual art has been proven to improve a viewer’s memory retention of the subject, so this format’s ideal for:
- Brand new products or concepts. Some products are easier to explain than others, but what they all tend to have in common is that there’s a field of competing ideas that are also vying for the attention of the consumer public. From a new line of trail mix, to a brand new way to fabricate computer parts, storytelling can help you to break down what your product is, and why it matters, usually within the very first page or two.
- Non-profit organizations and movements. Another example of a concept that can be difficult to explain at times, but leading a viewer along on a story allows you to inject information, real world photography, and much more, along with links on how visitors can help or participate in a cause. Like a video, a storytelling presentation can actually give you a stronger impact by putting real faces and places to facts and figures.
- Small businesses. You have a lot of room to experiment as a smaller business or independent worker, and storytelling is a good place to start. As with new products, a new business has a lot to prove to an audience, and may have its own endearing story to tell in how it was formed, what its vision might be, and why its products stand out.
With responsive design, you also get storytelling opportunities that look and interact well on mobile screens with swipe gestures, essentially mimicking a mobile application look. It’s best to keep the loading times low, as usual, but storytelling is also very much a visual style of presentation, and even interaction, so don’t be afraid to experiment with dynamic backgrounds, nontraditional spaces and containers, and even animated elements. The finished product could say much more about an idea than any press release or newsletter.