User scenarios


What it is

A method for telling a conceptual story about a user's interaction with your website or service, focusing on the what, how and why.

Reasons to use it

To communicate a design idea by telling a story about a specific interaction that a system supports. Through creating user scenarios, you'll identify what the user's motivations are for coming to your site as well as their expectations and goals. User scenarios also help the team answer questions about what the product should do as well as how it should look and behave.

Time required

Small: 1-3 hours

How to do it

  1. Determine a persona or user group to focus on.

  2. Begin to list out the user’s goals, motivations, and the context/environment in which they interact with your site or service.

  3. Put the details you came up with in step 2 into a story format that includes information about who they are (persona or user group), why they are using your site or service (motivations), where they are (context), what they need to do (their goal), and how they go about accomplishing their goal (tasks). Keep in mind, the more realistic details you add, the richer and more useful your story becomes for helping in understanding your user’s behaviors.

  4. Share the user scenarios you’ve written with the larger team for feedback and refinement.

Applied in government research

No PRA implications. No information is collected from members of the public.

Examples from 18F

Additional resources