HCID Seminar: Narrative Prototyping: Using Stories to Make Better UX Strategy

 Victoria Kirk Owal Protagonist Studio

Victoria Kirk Owal. Protagonist Studio

Talk Title: Narrative Prototyping: Using Stories to Make Better UX Strategy

Victoria Kirk Owal @kirkitude

Protagonist Studio

Time: 13:00, Friday 24 January 2020
Room: A214


You’re designing a new service, product, app, website, etc., and you want all the parts to work together. You want it to make sense; to be seamless. You want it to be *meaningful*. But where do coherence and meaning come from? In our experience, it’s narrative: the most meaningful experiences have the strongest stories, and a clear narrative arc makes for good strategy. This talk discusses the psychology of storytelling and why humans tend to think in narrative. More importantly, it presents a concrete approach for turning written and visual narrative into a robust UX planning and prototyping tool, that enables rapid conceptual iteration early in a project (rather than burning hours on premature Agile sprints). Drawing on numerous real-world examples, this talk demonstrates Narrative Prototyping can inform user journeys, scenarios and service maps, and get design teams and key stakeholders communicating and working in the same direction.


Bio: Victoria helps businesses succeed by mitigating the risks of innovation. She synthesizes business strategy, and insights from culture, data, customers, and stakeholders into future-state strategic narratives people can understand and act on. Then, she aligns the cross-functional teams that design and deliver results. In nearly two decades at some of the world’s most successful creative consultancies, she’s helped her clients in over 100 companies in 36 countries interrogate assumptions, uncover fresh insights, and serve new and underrepresented customers — both B2B and B2C — across healthcare, energy, consumer goods, banking, computing, software, fashion, beauty, travel and leisure. In 2018 Victoria co-founded Protagonist Studio, a boutique strategic design consultancy for UX leaders in London and Amsterdam because she and her business partner, Carl Alviani, have seen firsthand how useful narrative is at shaping experience strategy, and they have formalised the process of applying it.

Take a look at the whole City HCID research seminar series at https://hcid.city/seminar/


City Interaction Lab to Host December 2019 London Unreal Engine Meet-Up


What: The London Unreal Engine Meet-Up

When: Thursday 19th December 2019, 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Where: Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tait Building, City, University of London [map]

How: [Free] tickets are available online here: https://www.meetup.com/London-Unreal-Engine-Meetup/events/266648443/

Unreal Engine logo


The Unreal Engine is a AAA game engine produced by Epic Games that is used in popular games including the global phenomenon Fortnight.

The London Unreal Engine Meet-Up is one of the largest in the world offering an opportunity for those industry veterans and enthusiasts to meet and mingle alongside informative talks.

As Interaction Lab Manager and founding member of the HCID Comics, Games & Media Research Group, I (Stuart Scott) stepped in and offered to host the next London Unreal Engine Meet-Up at City, University of London.

The event is taking place on Thursday 19th December 2019, 7:00 to 9:00 PM, Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tait Building, City, University of London [map]

[Free] tickets are available online here: https://www.meetup.com/London-Unreal-Engine-Meetup/events/266648443/


Come and have some drinks on us and talk about Unreal Engine at CMD London Unreal Engine Meetup at our new venue!

This month, the talks are sponsored by Full Stack consultants CMD (@CharMikeDelta) and will take place at City, University of London, EC1V 0HB, near Angel Tube Station.

7.00pm-9.00pm Listen to some talks about game development.

9.00pm+ It’s networking time. Drinks are on us! (Or just plug in your laptop, take advantage of the wifi and get some gaming done 😉 ).

If you have anything you want to show off, be it a gameplay prototype, concept art, audio, animation or 3D model, feel free to present it. Just bring a laptop. (Or a USB drive/Dropbox account, if you are struggling. We’ll sort you out).

[Free] tickets are available online here: https://www.meetup.com/London-Unreal-Engine-Meetup/events/266648443/



Book Discussion: Vanni: A Family’s Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict

Benjamin Dix and Lindsay Pollock will be at City to discuss their book Vanni: A Family’s Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict (2019).

Date: Thursday 5 December 2019

Time: 6:00PM

Room: AG07b, City, University of London

The event is free but requires registration. All are welcome, and refreshments will be available.

Released 10 years after the end of the war, Vanni is a moving graphic novel that portrays the personal experiences of modern warfare, the processes of forced migration, and the struggles of seeking asylum in Europe.

Inspired by Benjamin Dix’s personal experience of working in Sri Lanka for the United Nations during the war, Vanni, named after the Tamil region of northern Sri Lanka, draws upon over four years of meticulous research – including first-hand interviews, references from official reports and cross-referencing with experts in the field.

Drawn by Lindsay Pollock with a real sense of immediacy, Vanni takes readers through the otherwise unimaginable struggles, horrors and life-changing decisions families and individuals are forced to make when caught in the cross hairs.

This event will feature a short talk about the graphic novel from authors Dr Benjamin Dix and Lindsay Pollock, followed by a Q&A.

About the speakers

Benjamin Dix is Senior Fellow at SOAS, University of London, and founder and Director of the non-profit organisation PositiveNegatives, which produces literary comics that explore complex social and humanitarian issues. He has worked across South Asia as a professional photographer and as a Communications and Liaison Manager for the United Nations. From 2004 -2008 he was based in the LTTE (Tamil Tigers)-controlled Vanni, in north Sri Lanka, throughout the post-tsunami reconstruction and subsequent civil war.

Lindsay Pollock is a Senior Artist at PositiveNegatives, where he has illustrated a number of testimonial comics. His work has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4 and in multiple languages across Europe, Asia and Africa. Vanni is his debut graphic novel.

The event is free but requires registration. All are welcome, and refreshments will be available.

This post reuses information taken from the original announcement at https://www.city.ac.uk/events/2019/december/vanni-a-familys-struggle-through-the-sri-lankan-conflict


City HCID Comics Road Trip to the US Library of Congress

BL, City, AHRC CDP logos

Date: Tuesday 10 December 2019

Place: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC 

A trip home to celebrate the US Thanksgiving holiday with my family has also afforded me the first opportunity to talk about my newly-minted (2 months!) AHRC-funded PhD research working with City HCID in partnership with the British Library, under the supervision of Ernesto Priego and Stephann Makri (City) and Ian Cooke and Stella Wisdom (British Library). The studentship is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships Programme.

My research will focus on UK digital comics: the process from creation to consumption (and back again?). Part of the research will involve working with City HCID to reveal the reader’s or user’s contribution in this process, as well as participate in comics scholarship.

In addition, I will be working with the British Library’s UK Web Archive, in particular its UK Digital Comics archive. Digital comics creators can upload their work directly to the BL collection through the ComicHaus app. This collaboration with ComicHaus provides a ready-made avenue for communicating with comics creators and publishers.

Which brings me to or will bring me to the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC on Tuesday 10 December 2019. The Library also has its own Web Comics Archive, and is also currently hosting an exhibit of its print comics collection, “Comic Art: 120 years of panels and pages“.

LOC logo

I will give a talk on UK Digital Comics to the Web Archiving Interest Group will cover City’s comics projects and research, such as Parables of Care and The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, as well as the work of the British Library. In addition, I will explain how my research fits in with the work of both institutions.

I hope to learn a lot from my visit. But I also want them to know of all the great work in the UK, and especially at City HCID!


Linda Berube is a PhD student at City HCID and the British Library and a member of the City HCID Comics, Games and Media Research Group. Her research is examining the use of tools, technologies and sharing of information in the production, publication, collecting and reading of web comics. After a career in the US in academic, law and public libraries, Linda came to the UK as a Fulbright Fellow and has since worked with the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel, as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Amnesty International.