WebVisions: Fable, Myth and NarrativeCrafting Multi-Screen Stories

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Senongo Akpem

In a digital world, what does storytelling mean for designers? We have augmented reality, touch screens, and even geolocation technology to tell everything from mysteries to children’s stories to our audiences. The proliferation of screens also means we can spread our narratives across multiple viewports. In this workshop, Nigerian-born designer and illustrator Senongo Akpem gives you powerful techniques for telling engaging multi-screen narratives. A must if you are interested in digital storytelling!

What you will learn:

  • What are the core elements of multi-screen narratives
  • Designing for different screens and contexts
  • Managing images and narrative assets
  • Launching stories and getting the word out


Started Pixel Fable in 2002.

Falling in love with interactive storytelling was easy.

Transmedia narratives

Stories that live online and off.

Example: The walking dead. Lots of media around the series that aren’t shown on TV. The video game for instance creates it’s own stories.

Choosing stories that work

  • Myths – supernatural beings, gods, explinations of natural phenomenon.
  • Fables – fantastical and magic. Presented as fact. Attempt to teach a lesson.
  • Legend – Often based on historical fact. Not always a lesson.
  • Documentaries – expose true facets of life that we didn’t know about.

Choose stories that are recognized

Multi-Screen Essentials

  1. Imagine the stories as layered experiences
  2. Consider the other point of view. Offer people the change to see through other eyes
  3. Redefine a tradition. Design culturally relevant versions for your myth.
  4. Design real, contextual interfaces. Design stories with memories. Make your interface a seamless part of the narrative.
  5. Immerse people in the narrative. Create complex experiences.

Story idea: Rumpelstiltskin

Creating narrative assets

  • Native assets need context
  • Multi-screen stories are made of narrative blocks. Video, link, text, audio, locations, images, data.
  • Can we automate asset creation?

Retelling of rumplestiltskin

  • You are playing as Rumpelstiltskin
  • Following the basic story of trying to help the daughter who is locked in the dungeon
  • The main idea is that if the game figures out your name or address you lose.
  • Each step uses text and video to draw you in …
  • And asks you to perform small innocuous seeming tasks to proceed.
  • Maybe follow a link, or check-in at a location, or upload an image that you have uploaded to a social site











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