The Blog of John Hewitt

Usability: Think in terms of scenarios

When you design a user interface, it helps to think in terms of the scenarios instead of tasks. A task is simply a major or minor event that needs to be accomplished. It’s important, but it doesn’t define the goals and circumstances that guide the user. That’s why it is important to think in terms of scenarios.

A user scenario involves more than just task that is to be accomplished. Scenarios can be general or detailed but they answer such questions as:

  • What are the overall goals of the user?
  • How will the user define success?
  • What level of skill, experience and authority does the user have?
  • Where will the user be when they access the product?
  • What time constraints might the user be under?
  • What influence will stakeholders besides the user have over the final outcome?

These are just a few of the possible considerations that can go into a scenario. The goal is to think in terms of the user instead of in terms of the product and the tasks.

  • Carrie

    These posts are really well thought out and so uniquely helpful. Thank you for posting your vast knowledge for the rest of us. Best wishes 🙂

  • Carrie

    These posts are really well thought out and so uniquely helpful. Thank you for posting your vast knowledge for the rest of us. Best wishes 🙂