Find the story

Share research insights using empathy. Craft a story with a meaningful plot, detail to visualizations, and attention to your audience.

The number one representing the first step in a process

A successful research Playback makes your user the protagonist.

Start with empathy

Keep users at the center of your story. Communicate meaningful stories not artifacts. Remind your team who the offering helps, of the user pain points you address, and the jobs or tasks your users need to perform.

Define the stakes

Create urgency in your team to take action by defining what is at stake for the user. If a user cannot perform this job or task successfully, what will happen? Communicate all the working parts and who might be affected.

Focus on outcomes

Show opportunities for your team to help users, not only alleviate their pain points but also have a positive outcome. Remember to not settle for average experiences, we aim to create the exceptional.

The number three representing the second step in a process

Help others see what you see. Visually communicate research insights to elevate findings and increase value.

Select a medium

Think about the environments in which your research will live. Will it be presented to an audience? Will you send a report to your team through email? Or will it live online in a shared, living document? Remember there is no predefined format or limits to your research deliverables. Understanding where and how the research will be documented can create a strong outline and even help you work faster by allowing you to better construct files, templates, and other communication materials.

Accelerate the delivery

Visual communication takes time regardless of your expertise. Connect with those who are trained in visual design. Consider your offering’s attributes, style guide, and use the IBM Design Language. By adopting your offering’s palette, appropriate type scale, and other brand-specific guidelines, you lessen your workload and reinforce the brand. Make your research deliverables look like they belong in your product or service family.

Establish a rhythm

Think in patterns. When visually communicating your research, think in terms of relationships or characters. What data relates to this insight? What does that insight or character look like? Help your audience follow the storyline, characters, and relationships through visual cues and consistent layouts.

Keep it simple

Start with the fundamentals. Balance, contrast, scale, dominance, similarity, and hierarchy will provide clarity in your compositions. These principles sound simple but their combinations and applications are endless. When using visualizations like graphs or charts, think deeply about what you are trying to communicate. While it is easy to construct a venn diagram, it may not be the right visual for the job.

The number three representing the third step in a process

Consider your audience. A good storyteller tailors the narrative to their listener.

Know the context

Where is the presentation happening? You will need different mediums or deliveries depending on if the delivery is happening online, over the phone, or in person. Who are you presenting to? If you are presenting to your team, perhaps a more hands-on or causal approach to a story is more effective. If you are presenting to an executive or senior executive in the company, a more formal presentation is likely to be expected. If you want to switch it up and that is part of your story ensure that you tell your audience ahead of time so they can prepare and adjust their expectations accordingly.

Transfer research insights

As you tell the user’s story, leave the audience with a few big takeaways. These are your research insights and recommendations that will help focus the team. Anyone can lookup facts from a research paper or presentation. Ensure that the stories you tell have a visceral impact, create urgency to build, and are backed by evidence.