Event Recap: Power of Storytelling in UX Design

On Thursday, September 29th, ThinkNW hosted an engaging conversation where the panelists shared their experiences in using storytelling to build buy-in, keep the user engaged, and achieve client brand and business goals.

Overview: A story is a powerful form of communication and connection. Stories are also core to UX design and should take the lead when mapping user experience for intuitive, meaningful experiences. They drive brand perception, recurring visits, or purchases. Storytelling elevates everything from design concepts to data analysis. We will explore how crafting a narrative for UX can be the difference between excitement and inaction for your internal stakeholders, clients, and users.

The panel tackled questions including:

  • What is a complete and incomplete user story?
  • How does storytelling and user emotion connect?
  • How does UX storytelling serve as a tool for user empathy?
  • What is the balance of the roles of design and writing in UX storytelling?

Moderator: Sarah Murray, Executive Creative Director – GRAYBOX

As GRAYBOX’s Executive Creative Director, Sarah does more than make websites. She goes deeper to craft insight into digital experiences that are absurdly useful and effective. It all begins with a partnership—bringing together research, brand storytelling, and technology to solve real-world problems. Her approach to projects is all about listening to clients’ and users’ needs to uncover untapped possibilities. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master’s in human-computer interaction. She’s been a creative leader for Fortune 500 companies and pioneering startups for over a decade. As a mentor and educator, Sarah delights in sharing her passion for human-centered design. Outside of work, you can find her making stop-motion shorts with her son, hiking with her dogs, or planning her next family trip. Up next—Cambodia.


Andrew Otwell, User Experience Lead – LabKey

Andrew is the UX Lead at LabKey. With nearly 20 years of design experience at Zillow, Leafly, Google, and Amazon, he has helped shape user experiences used by millions of people. Andrew grew up in Maryland, has an M.A. from UT Austin, and has lived in Seattle for more than a decade. At home, he loves cooking, baking, playing music, and spending time with his family.

David Stewart, Lead Product Designer – Hinge Health

David Stewart (He/Him) is a native Portlander who has been designing user experiences for over two decades. He has had the opportunity to work with some amazing brands on a myriad of projects. When he’s not designing, he’s running, working on Betty, his 1964 Buick Skylark, and spending time with his family.

Anuja Upadhye, Senior Product Designer – Zillow

Anuja works as a Senior Product Designer for Immersive Experiences at Zillow. Prior to Zillow, she worked with TrackR, a tech start-up in Santa Barbara, CA, while pursuing her Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Design from UC Irvine. At home, Anuja loves to garden and is currently reading on how to turn her lawn into a ‘meadow garden’.

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