Story Sharing

Published on April 1, 2019 by

Themes: , , ,


To get insights into users’ experiences using services.


Capturing people’s stories, emotions and feelings to design a better service


One Hour


Video camera or audio recorder/dictaphone, interview schedule, pen


One to One

  1. Before collecting stories make sure that your equipment is working (e.g. check that the dictaphone is sensitive enough to pick up voices and that your batteries are charged or you have spares).
  2. Try to start with an easy introductory question to ease the storyteller into the interview, for example ‘Have you travelled far?’
  3. Ask the storyteller to “Tell me about….” a significant time that they used the service – this might be when they had a poor or good experience or, it it’s simpler, the last time they used the service.
  4. Enable the storyteller to do just that – tell you their story. Get them to consider the whole experience of using the service, from their first encounter with it (e.g. via letter, phone call, printed leaflet etc.) to what happened after, back home. If you have a rough idea of these service touchpoints, prompt the storyteller with, e.g. “What happened when you got the letter…”
  5. If the storyteller is keen on a particular topic or issue, let them to talk about that. Ask follow up questions or use prompts such us: “How did that make you feel”, “Tell me more about that” or “What happened, next?”. This will give you a sense of how it affected them rather than simply a chronological list of facts.
  6. When you are ask questions make sure they are ‘open’ such us “What did you do?” rather than closed questions, which can be answered with “yes” or “no”.
  7. Manage the time and steer the interview to a natural close. Ask the storyteller if there is “Anything else you would like to share…” (Some have things that they want to ‘get off their chest’ that their story doesn’t feature, so give them the opportunity).
  8. Remember to thank the storyteller for their time and for sharing their story with you. 


  • DO find out how much time has your interviewee available and make sure you keep to time allocated.
  • DO make sure that your storyteller is comfortable and have refreshments available. 
  • DO start each interview by introducing yourself, and then ask your storyteller to state the same information. 
  • DO ask participants of your study if they would like to participate at any of your future design activities (e.g. workshops) and, if so, ask for their contact information (e.g. email address, telephone number). 
  • DON’T talk over your storyteller because it will make the recording unclear as well as making what they say seem unimportant. Provide non-verbal encouragement to continue such as nodding your head and smiling. 


  • Institute for Innovation and Improvement (2009) The EBD (Experience Based Design) Approach: Using patient and staff experience to design better healthcare services, Guide and Tools, University of Warwick, Coventry


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