I went to a great lecture hosted by the IXDA and Digitas called “Experience Themes – An Element of Story to Design“. Cindy Chastain talked about using themes/story telling when creating the ID/User Experience for your website. “In experience design, themes can be used to pattern and unify product solutions as well as a means of unifying teams, assisting in the work of defining strategy and helping to design for the intangible pleasure, emotion and meaning in experience.”
What is great about this very intuitive method of doing design is that it unifies the team and keeps everyone grounded on what the ‘mission statement’ of the assignment really is. Cindy suggested creating a Matrix of themes and further clarifying it by “concept, story premise, sub-themes, primary activities and emotions to evoke”. Themes also quantify what are tangible and intangible components to what the site entails. It makes very broad creative ideas much more easy to digest for the client and we can dig deeper into what they really want when we give them a theme to work with. I think this is great in combination with using personas for site development. In my eyes personas are the characters and the theme is the “stage, location, etc.” but of course there are many interpretations that can be made from this.