of users and heroes

As a UX designer, from the moment I discovered the user’s journey in my toolbox it wore a smudge like a ghost that I could neither fathom or shake. I was captivated by its mysterious doppelgänger, desperate for recognition, articulation and understanding.

And, then, one day not so long ago (today, in fact), in a moment of unnatural clarity, the image focused and leapt out of nether-consciousness, imprinting itself on my left frontal lobe: Joseph Campbell.

If personas are archetypes, then their journeys are nothing less than a hero’s journey. And, who could have captured this better?

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” (Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces)

That the journey we take each day through the infinite expanses of the Internet was so eloquently described by Joseph Campbell in 1949 should come as no surprise. The digital domain is but one more milieu in which we, as humans, have learned to navigate, engage, question, dream and thrive.

In coming posts, I will visit the hero’s journey from ordinary world into the unknown, to his triumphant return with the treasure for which he suffered so greatly. And, in doing so, perhaps illuminate the journey each of us takes daily through these fictive landscapes.