Data Visualization / User Experience

Non-Profit Story Telling UX – Is Your Organization Doing Enough?

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It is no secret that we live in a fast-pace world combined with shortened attention spans. We have a very limited time to make a connection with our audience. This is especially true for non-profits. A connection with your audience determines your level of success and missional impact. This is one of the reasons that many organizations put such a tremendous emphasis on user experience (UX) in the digital age. We believe that an emphasis needs to be put on UX, because a good UX opens the door to financial support via donations, call-to-actions, and the ease of sharing your missional impact in the world. We also believe to achieve exceptional UX, the story and its delivery are key.


Story telling has been used since the beginning of time to make a connection between the story teller and the listener. When a story teller uses clear and engaging content (i.e. content that captures the attention of the listener/reader), the story is remembered (impactful) and shared (inspiring an action).

We believe to improve the user experience, there needs to be an improvement as to how the story is delivered.  Here’s what we recommend:

First, recognize that your organization’s story should be the foundation of your user’s experience. You can do this by applying five basic elements of a story:

  • Character – This is your user. How do they fit in your story?
  • Setting – What is the platform for the story? Is it a data visualization dashboard? An interactive report? An infographic?
  • Plot – What are the elements of your story? How do they relate to each other?
  • Conflict – What is the issue that the character (your user) trying to resolve? What are the elements of conflict?
  • Resolution – How do you bring them out of their conflict into a resolution? How are you going to solve the character’s problem?

Second, use your data from both internal and external sources to help craft your story. Your data can help lay the groundwork and validate your story. For example, if you are not using your data to help define your users (character) and recognize conflicts, how can you integrate an effective resolution into your story?

Third, story telling helps you personalize the user experience. Personalization helps you create a connection or bond with the user. It brings them into your story and they begin to feel that they are a part of your mission.

You need to look at your user experience. You are using UX best practices for all devices, but you need to ask yourself, does the user experience draw my audience into a story that they will remember and want to share? If it does, that is great! If not, it is time to take your user experience from good to great.

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