WHAT IS IT?
A user scenario is the fictitious story of a user’s accomplishing an action or goal via a product. It focuses on a user’s motivations and documents the process by which the user might use a design. User scenarios help designers understand what motivates users when they interact with a design – a useful consideration for ideation and usability testing. A perfect user scenario is a short story that clearly defines the context in which the product is used.
Scenarios provide a reality check for the designs, helping us identify design gaps and articulate exactly what features are needed to build to make users happy.
TYPES OF SCENARIOS
There are two main types of scenario used to report UX research:
- Context scenarios: These show the issues that your users are facing without suggesting solutions – they stimulate idea generation and are usually used during the early parts of a UX design project. It is used basically for usability testing.
- Design scenarios: These show the issues and the solution. They are used throughout a UX project to help teams model the solution within their environment and to explore the consequences of making the proposed changes.
WHEN TO BE USED?
User scenarios can be used in the ideation phase of a design project. This is where visualizing how a user will use a product or service will help generate design ideas. At such an early stage, the flexibility these scenarios offer to a designer’s imagination is immense—a bonus that can expand a design’s potential to be highly versatile and even transcend market use.
HOW TO CREATE SCENARIOS?
It is good practice to use user personas to build a scenario around.
- Choose the most important tasks which the user wants to accomplish. Create a story around it and how the user will fulfill the subtasks to complete the task. It’s best to do user research and identify your audience’s key priorities.
- Use your user persona to create a story around the persona as the reference.
- Consider how the persona would react to the situation you are trying to describe. Consider how they would react to change in that situation (e.g. what’s the difference when they have what they want compared to when they didn’t?)
- Think about the implications in your persona’s life of the frustrations they currently encounter.
- Write down how to accomplish the task. Include the main pathway and any alternative pathways the participant may use to accomplish the scenario. After the test, compare how you thought users would complete the task of how they actually completed the
task. This comparison provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of your site’s architecture and navigation.
Below is an example of context scenario for a health-related site called MedWonders: