5-8 February 2014, Amsterdam

Saturday, February 8

A story a day keeps the doctor away

Saturday 14:00 Transformatorhuis #TH

The epic story about how I became a better UX designer by listening to other peoples' stories.

Like Jonathan Gottshall said, stories are for humans like water is for the fish. We as humans have a desire, almost a basic need for stories, from our early days on. With stories we make sense of things, we relate, share values. With the new media types came several challenges for traditional storytelling and new labels arose. Transmedia storytelling, digital storytelling, intermedia. You name it. There are numerous scholars like Henry Jenkins or Ann Morrison tackling those challenges. But what really matters is that the stories simply do matter. They make us human.

In my short talk, I illustrate the journey about my personal experience with stories and storytelling and wrap it up with why we created Edgar, the place for digital stories.

In July 2013 I embarked on an epic journey to become a better storyteller. The motivation came when we started working on our startup which I co-founded. Our goal is to encourage and help people craft and share their stories. On the other hand, the mission I set for myself was: share one story a day, mostly about and from new, random people I meet.

In less than a month, I met dozens of interesting people, each with his or her own story. Even the most conventional, boring-looking people have amazing stories to share. And they are more than happy to share them, as long as someone asks them. It's not only for the fun and joy of those stories, it's also about learning from those individuals. And learning from each and every interaction. I argue that talking to those lovely people gave me more insight than 5 years of work done for my PhD.

Secondly, I argue that listening to such a diversity of stories made me a better listener and a more appreciative person. What this means is that I became a much better UX researcher. Mastering the art of listening is a known requirement for the UX professionals, but if you upgrade it with good storytelling you become a true master of interactions.

In my talk, I show simple, short stories I collected and try to demonstrate the emotional responses caught during my meetings with those individuals. My goal of the talk is to inspire people to listen, share and tell stories and embrace the power of storytelling.

Damjan Obal

Damjan Obal

About Damjan: A digital storyteller and User Experience (UX) designer/researcher dreaming of magical portals while crafting all sorts of human-machine/computer/service/R2D2 interactions.

Facilitator, strategist, transmedia storyteller, speaker and designer. Degree in Interactive Graphic Communication and PhD in Information Technology (HCI, UX).

Worked as an editor/copy, later worked with several advertising/design agencies as a creative lead, freelanced as a creative director. Soon dived into digital products as the UX Lead and Head of UX. At the moment, freelancing as a UX consultant and organizational storyteller under my own flag in the blok_blok studio and storytelling at the startup Edgar ( which I founded.