Epic FAIL: Takeaways from the War Stories project

Stories make the world go round. As design researchers, we love stories. At its simplest, our job is to gather stories and to retell them. The War Stories project is a community-sourced archive of stories about contextual user research (research out in the field) and the inevitable mishaps that ensue. These stories are in turn bizarre, comic, tragic and generally astonishing:

We’ve been gathering these stories for more than two years and the resulting archive is a treasure trove of what we may encounter when we seek to understand those we are designing for. This archive fills a longstanding need for the design and research community; to share what can go wrong, simply because that’s the reality. For a practice that is not always well-understood or trusted, there’s a pressure to only speak to the successes, but the confidence to share the honest and human messiness of this work can help develop the skill and even prestige of the community. Exchanging these stories is a way of socializing our technique and creating learning opportunities for both tellers and listeners. A culture of exchange – wherever we can find it – is going to help us grow our own skills.

In this presentation, Steve will review some of the stories, highlight some of the patterns revealed by the stories, and suggest some of the lessons that we can take away.

Presentation audio



sketchnotes for the presentation
sketchnotes for the presentation
sketchnotes for the presentation