Written scenario

From WikID

What is a Written Scenario?

To write a scenario (or story), you need a basic understanding of the tasks to be performed by the user. You also need to have an understanding of the users and the context of use. Scenarios can be derived from data gathered during contextual enquiry activities.

In simple language describe the interaction that needs to take place. It is important to avoid references to technology. You should also have the scenario reviewed by users to ensure that it is representative of the real world. Use scenarios during design to ensure that all participants understand and agree to the design parameters, and to specify exactly what interactions the system must support.

When Can You Use a Written Scenario?

A written scenario can be used throughout the design process, for developing ideas about the interaction with a product idea. Scenarios can also be used for presenting ideas and concepts, and are used in product concept evaluations and product usability evaluations.

How to Use a Written Scenario?


Starting Point

Used as a tool for developing ideas, a written scenario starts with a first idea about the interaction between product and user.

Expected Outcome

The outcome of using a written scenario, is a good conceptual idea about the interaction. Written descriptions can be used for communication and evaluation purposes.

Possible Procedure

  1. Determine the actors. The actor has an active role in the scenario. In case of several actors, more scenarios should be set up.
  2. Determine the goals the actor has to complete.
  3. Determine a starting point of the scenario: a trigger or an event.
  4. Identify stakeholders and their interests.
  5. Determine the number of scenarios that you will create, based on the number of actors and their goals.
  6. Write the scenario. Work from starting point towards completing the actors’ goals. Be specific about tasks, subtasks, context and the actors’ motivations to complete the goals.

Tips and Concerns

  • Comics and movies are a great source of expressive techniques. Some of these can be applied to product use scenarios.

References and Further Reading

  • Jacko, J., et al. (2002) The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies and Emerging Applications, New York: Erlbaum and Associates.


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