How translating user stories into value stories can drive action | by Kai Wong | Mar, 2024


Communicating designs isn’t enough: Translate your design recommendations into value stories

Art by midjourney

I’ve been seeing an increasing number of designers who don’t realize that design communication is a two-way street.

There’s been an increasing focus on soft skills, like design communication, to navigate this turbulent job market. However, this doesn’t just mean teaching your team about the UX point of view.

It also means knowing enough about the business’s priorities to translate user findings and design recommendations into terms they understand.

When I say that, people often think this means learning about KPIs, metrics, and related subjects. While learning those terms is helpful, that’s not the only way to translate designs for the business.

One other, more straightforward way of doing this is translating your customer story into a value story.

Customer and value stories: understanding the different focuses

In Kindra Hall’s “Stories that Stick,” she introduces two specific story types, the customer and the value story, that are key to understanding the mindset of both UX and Product.

As UX professionals, we gravitate towards wanting to tell a Customer story. These are flawed, imperfect stories that our users provide about the individual user experience, whether through user testing, interviews, or other methods.

We aggregate these stories into larger themes to give essential summaries of critical points (like 4/5 users had trouble on this page). We list usability problems, prioritize them by how common and severe they are, and recommend specific actions.

This may be enough for minor changes like button placement or text, but you may have firsthand experience with how difficult it is to convince your team to take harder (or more costly) actions through these stories.

Businesses aren’t necessarily looking for a customer story; they’re looking for a value story. A value story centers around expressing a product’s intrinsic values, benefits, and unique selling points…


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