Stories may be the single most powerful way to convey an idea to another human being. At its most fundamental, it's not only how we learn about the world around us, it's how we interpret it and teach it to others. Metaphors and descriptions spark understanding in a way that plain-and-dry data never can. But although Story itself is rarely disputed as a powerful way to educate and humanize tedious subjects, it's often overlooked as a method to improve the user experience of websites today.

For the web industry, storytelling by design is a growing interest of many designers. But why? Do cookie-cutter websites really leave anything left to be desired? And moreover, can storytelling by design have a practical purpose beyond subjective aesthetics?

Design narrates your message

Storytelling by design means that your design is able to narrate your message to your audience. Instead of simply functioning, it communicates, pulling viewers in and taking them somewhere--wherever your message should lead them. It enables you to direct your website in a manner that is focused on communication, allowing for complex ideas to be understood easily. Because it introduces a very natural method of learning to the user, your website has the ability to get your message across with greater ease and retention than with words and charts.

Storytelling creates relationships

Websites that have story-driven design are not only more memorable, they also create a more impactful first experience by the user. This is because stories create relationships. Whereas many websites are designed and developed to simply convey information, on the hope that perhaps someone will take an interest and pursue a call-to-action, websites that follow storytelling by design principles directly engage the user. When executed properly, this helps the user take part in the story, creating an emotion and a mental relationship to the story being told.

Purposeful design is effective design

When a website is created to tell a story, it has to be focused and defined, based on an understanding of its goals and its users. It can't attempt to pursue many different tactics or, in many cases, vague goals. It has to be user-centered. This completely shifts the perspective of the designers, developers and clients when creating the site, leading to a website that is more effective as a whole. What could be more practical than a website that does its job better?

Storytelling by design may be one of the effective ways to bring create a positive and lasting user experience for your audience. Although it may seem like an extra step in the conceptualization process, storytelling by design creates a stronger, unifed message, a better relationship with your visitor, and a more purposeful, user-centered experience. Have you seen a particularly excellent example of storytelling by design? Leave it in the messages below!