Unleashing the Power of Pixar’s Storytelling in Product Design (Part 1 of 2) | by Joe Smiley | Jan, 2024 | Medium


The struggle is real, we simply can’t escape companies constantly bombarding us with digital experiences everywhere on the internet via websites and apps on our phones, watches, computers, VR headsets — download this! sign up here! join for free!

At last count, there are approximately 1.13 billion websites and 9 million mobile apps in existence!

Animation of tiny people on a smartphone doing activities (running, listening to music, etc) that correspond to various types of mobile apps on the smartphone
Credit: Gaurav

There are websites and apps for just about everything you can imagine, from games & entertainment, to shopping, healthcare, news, utilities, and many others.

They power our digital lives, while also interrupting and invading our real lives. They fuel our relationships, careers, and buying decisions in unique and meaningful ways, whether we know it or not. But how many of these digital experiences really know you? Not just know your name and birthday, but they really connect with you on a deeper emotional level?

If you’re like me, it’s probably not many. I use most sites and apps because I have to, not necessarily because I want to. Not because the experience is truly compelling or memorable. It’s purely transactional.

Graphic of computer displaying the text “transaction vs experience”
Credit: Douglas Wright

As designers, your digital experiences need to not only survive — but thrive — amongst the billions of apps & websites competing for your customers’ attention. To do this, it’s critically important to carefully design and build an experience that captures the heart & soul of your customers. So how do we promote effective communication that acknowledges both the speaker and the listener? How do we foster deeper connections, tapping into your customers’ emotions, ambitions, and values?

The answer is simple: storytelling

The power of storytelling is an ancient and universal force that transcends cultures and spans generations, and “is the way knowledge and understanding have been passed down for millennia” notes the famous author & speaker Simon Sinek. It’s a fundamental aspect of human communication, weaving narratives that connect individuals and communities worldwide. We can trace the origins of storytelling back thousands of years to some of the earliest forms of human communication, from prehistoric cave paintings to oral traditions.


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