Blog Post: Motivate Design - A UX Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale Written for the Children of Designers

“What’s essential is invisible to the eye.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As designers and creatives, a great deal of our work is done behind-the-scenes, invisible to the outside eye. Countless hours are dedicated to brainstorming, conducting research, collecting data, nurturing big ideas, using your imagination and discussing endless possibilities — all in the pursuit of the perfect user experience. But how do you explain this process to a child? Here is our creative answer to the age old question, “Mommy (or Daddy), what do you do at work?”

The Fox, The Prince & The Pursuit of the Perfect Gift

Once upon a time, there was a Fox who lived in a field of wheat with his best friend known only as the Little Prince. And on this day, it was the birthday of the Little Prince and the Fox was in search of the perfect gift for his friend.  So while the Little Prince was away, the Fox began his quest to town. Along the way he encountered a little shop filled with many shiny things. There were silver dishes, plates and spoons, golden candlesticks and mirrors framed in jewels. The Fox looked at his reflection in the splendor and though, “Oh yes, this would be fit for a Prince.” Suddenly, a large Crane walked towards the Fox, introducing himself as the shopkeeper. His slow, snobbish tone seemed to drip from his polished beak as he asked, “May I help you?"

“I hope so,” said the Fox. “I need the perfect gift for a Prince.”

The Crane waved his wing as if dusting the air around the golden things and boasted, “We have the finest objects in all the land. Any Prince would be glad to receive a gift such as these.”

The Fox looked around. “My Prince likes to draw. Do you have anything that might help with that?”

The Crane laughed, “No, but you’re welcome to look.” And with that he walked away.

The Fox looked at each and every precious item in the glittering shop, but none reminded him of his friend. And, to be honest, the Fox didn’t feel comfortable in the Crane’s shop. He wasn’t having any fun at all. So he left without saying a word.

A little further down the road, the Fox came upon another shop being run by a large family of rabbits who made beautiful clothing. The Fox wandered into the shop and asked, “I’m looking for a gift for my friend. Do you have any clothes fit for a Prince?” The main tailor Rabbit looked at the Fox suspiciously. “All of our clothes are fit for a Prince,” he said. “In fact, our clothes are good enough for everyone. Each outfit is made from the same fabric, in the same style, and in the same size. It would be perfect for you or your friend or anyone.” The Fox examined the clothing and thought to himself, my friend might enjoy some new clothes made by such fine tailors, if I can find the right color. He knew the Prince would love a new jacket in blue, so he asked, “Can I get this jacket in any color?”

The Rabbit smiled, revealing his two long front teeth, “As long as it’s brown.”

This answer deterred the Fox, and slowly he came to the conclusion that his friend wasn't like anyone else, so why should he dress the same as everyone? That didn't seem right to the Fox. Not at all. But as he continued with his thoughts, the Rabbit grew impatient. “Are we getting the clothes or not? I’m very busy,” he snipped. “No,” said the Fox. “I’m afraid it just isn’t what I’m looking for. Thank you.” And with that, he wandered out the door.

Now, the sun was starting to set and the Fox was running out of time to find the perfect gift for the Prince. It all seemed hopeless. Luckily, an old, jovial Bear was driving his wagon down the dirt path, singing old songs and slurping honey from the cracks of a fractured jar. He saw the sad Fox wandering down the path and hollered, “Hey you! What’s the matter?” The Fox looked up and sighed, “It’s my friend’s birthday and I don’t have a gift. I haven’t been able to find the right one.”

The Bear slowed his fat grey ponies to a halt and let loose a mighty laugh, “Well you’re in luck, Fox. I happen to be a designer. An inventor of sorts. And I’d love to help you create the perfect gift for your friend. Tell me more about this Prince.” The Fox's ears perked up at such a generous offer, and quickly he began to tell the Bear all about his friend: how they met in the wheat fields, about the Prince's travels and favorite foods, about their games and favorite colors. The Fox told the Bear anything and everything he could think of, eventually sharing every way his friend was special and unique. All the while, the Bear wrote down in his small, wrinkled notebook everything he deemed to be important. And once the Fox was finished relaying his tale, the Bear closed the notebook with a slap and looked up at the Fox from his bright orange reading glasses. "I believe I have exactly what you need," he said. "Right here in my wagon." 

Together they walked around to the back, which was filled to the brim with books, colored pencils, clay, paints, and papers. To the Fox, the wagon revealed an explosion of colors, possibilities, and creative tools of the trade. He could barely contain his excitement as the Bear began to pull at various objects, all to create the perfect gift for the Prince. Together they selected a collection of colored pencils that always stayed sharp, a notepad with pages that changed color in the sun, and a bright blue tin for safe keeping. The Bear even painted a quick image of a wheat field on the front, so that every time the Prince opened the tin, he would think of the Fox and their friendship. And to make the gift even more special, the Bear stuffed the tin with confetti and a homemade card that said in big letters, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE PRINCE! From your friend, the Fox." 

Oh, the Fox was overjoyed when the Bear presented him with these unique and handcrafted items. He paid the Bear for his work, then thanked him for the art. "I never could have done this without you. Thank you so much for your help!" The Bear just smiled, "Oh, nonsense, to do great things, all you need is your imagination! Don't forget that you're a designer too! We all are!" With that, the Bear returned to his honey pot and folk songs, clucked at his ponies, and headed back down the path. As he disappeared into the horizon, the Fox raced back to his wheat field, where the Prince was waiting. He was so excited to share this remarkable gift with his friend because it had been made with love, a touch of creativity, and fabulous design; but more than that, the Fox knew that he had found the perfect gift for his perfectly original friend.

The End

Originally published at www.motivatedesign.com.