I will explain how story and myth are key to defining the human experience and how we can use story to guide the design of anything where human engagement with the product is key. Story can be manifested as subtext, and as narrative. Each informs design choices differently. Story as subtext is where story is developed as a manifesto for use by design teams to coalesce ideas and create unity and focus while not necessarily being 100% obvious to the end user, but has a sub conscience effect. Story as narrative is where the story is front and center in the experience design and unfolds to the user much like a book or movie. I will provide examples of each from projects I’ve worked on around the world.
Design and user experience is most powerful when it connects with people on an emotional level first. Good story taps into human emotion, which in turn can guide design choices with the most impact.
Some of the best stories are the simple ones, and simplicity is key to user friendly design. Good stories unfold logically with an understandable hierarchy of importance. Applying that principle to design and user experience results in product that has appeal and natural user interface.
Using story as either design subtext or narrative help people to “see themselves” in the design. In other words, universal human experiences, rooted in primal emotions like happiness, wonder and curiosity create common touch points that feel real and comforting to the user.
Former Creative Executive, Senior Vice President, Hong Kong Disneyland & Disney Cruise Line Portfolios Walt Disney Imagineering
With more than three decades of Disney experience, Joe Lanzisero is well equipped for his role as creative executive in charge of projects for Walt Disney Imagineering. Working with teams of artists, writers, architects and engineers, he serves as the eyes and artistic conscience of a project from conception through completion.
Joe was responsible for the creative development of the two newest ships for the Disney Cruise Line, and oversaw the teams that designed these new state-of-the-art ships (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) which launched in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Many features such as the innovative dinner show “Animation Magic” and the inclusion of an onboard water coaster (the AquaDuck) are cruise industry firsts.
At Hong Kong Disneyland, Joe oversaw the expansion of the park by more than 20 percent over a three-year period. The additions of three new lands – Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and most recently, Mystic Point, adds more excitement and fun for guests of all ages.
Lanzisero began his Disney career in 1979 in Feature Animation (now Walt Disney Animation Studios), working on the animation, special effects, storyboarding and story development of numerous features, shorts and special project. He came to Imagineering in 1987 as a concept designer and was on the design teams for Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park at Walt Disney World, Critter Country at Disneyland, and Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.
In 1991, Lanzisero was promoted to senior concept designer and immediately plunged into the development of Mickey’s Toontown, the wacky cartoon “community” that opened at Disneyland Park in 1993. He also developed the concept for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, a wild and funny dark ride that opened in Mickey’s Toontown the following year. Lanzisero also supervised the concept design for the Tokyo Disneyland version of Toontown that opened in 1996.
Before joining the Tokyo Disneyland project team in 1999, he developed the concept for Fantasia Gardens and WinterSummerland, a pair of unique miniature golf courses at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Another new venture, Disney Cruise Line, benefited from his work on children’s spaces and activities. And he was behind the conceptual design and development of DisneyFest, a unique Disney entertainment venue that traveled throughout the Far East and South America.
In 2001 Joe was promoted to creative vice president for Tokyo Disney Resort, charged with overseeing all design in Tokyo. For Tokyo Disney Resort, he worked on such attractions as Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, Toontown, Critter Country and Splash Mountain. He did the concept development for Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast in Tokyo DisneySea as well as many other projects. He directed the creative development of Tower of Terror attraction and Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek. In March 2007, Joe was promoted to creative senior vice president with the added responsibilities of overseeing all design for Hong Kong Disneyland, including leading the design of a major three-land expansion of the park.
A member of the first graduating class of the Walt Disney Character Animation program at California Institute of the Arts in 1979, Lanzisero developed his artistic talents with old-time Disney professionals. He applied his education as a teacher at the Otis Art Institute and in the animation industry before joining The Walt Disney Company.