Use Case – User Scenario By Glen
Originally published February 2007
Use cases, sometimes called user scenarios, are narratives or flow diagrams that describe how users will interact with a Web site. Some people also refer to them as task analysis or user flows. Regardless of what you call them, the idea is the same. Illustrate to people scenarios or specific tasks which users will perform. So the names of the deliverables are pretty self descriptive. A case (study) of a use or a scenario. Sounds right to me.
User scenarios can identify specific tasks or more general concepts and usage patterns. For example, if the information architects (IAs) at Yahoo were creating sample use cases, one might illustrate the following scenario.
A user opens their Firefox browser and sees their home page – Yahoo.com. The user checks the personalized news headlines on the home page. They then scroll down to check their local weather forecast. After that the user clicks on the Finance link to check on their stock holdings. continued…
This is a generic example without much meaning, but these types of scenarios are meaningful to information architects and designers. More detailed use cases can tell us a lot about usage and navigation patterns.
Creating user scenarios is helpful in setting the IA and design direction for new sites. If the scenarios are accurate it will help the Web team understand how the site will be used. Effective requirements analysis, user and client interviews, and observation will help lead to accurate use cases.