Author: Caitlin Vlastakis Smith

Caitlin Vlastakis Smith is a senior strategist at Centerline Digital, a content marketing agency. Half UX designer, half content creator, Cait partners with clients like GE, IBM and Quintiles to solve communication challenges through meaningful content and brand experiences. Follow Cait on Twitter, and check out her writing on the Centerline blog and Medium.

By caitlin-vlastakis-smith published February 17, 2014

Content Planning: How to Use UX Research to Uncover Hidden Needs

We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for. — Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

figure standing in circle-arrowComing to grips with this statement is like accepting you’ve been wearing your underwear backwards for years — it’s slightly anxiety-inducing, and brings a touch of shame, yet it’s also quite clarifying.

Gladwell is referring to our inability — as mammals with big “machines” in our heads — to clearly express what we want and what we think. He gives examples from his research that demonstrate how our conscious mind and unconscious mind aren’t the best at communicating with each other. (Come on, guys, get it together. We’re on the same team!)

Often, verbal explanations crafted by our conscious mind don’t reflect what we really think or what we really want. While we think we’re telling the truth, in reality it’s our actions and habits that truly reflect our beliefs, wants, and values — regardless of whether they align with our verbal self-expression — call it a storytelling dilemma, if you will. Our behavior acts like little mirrors sewn into our jackets, revealing our inner selves. Continue Reading