How well a product performs in the real world is dependent on a lot of factors. Does it do what users need it to do? Is it reliable? Is it well made? Is it usable? Is it beautiful? There are a lot of factors at play but ultimately it comes down to one thing – Has a product been designed with real world use in mind? And what is the best way to design a product with real world use in mind? Answer: Scenarios,  real world scenarios that outline how users should be able to use a product or service in the real world.

Scenarios are really very simple because at heart they are just stories. They are stories about people. They are stories about people doing stuff in the real world. An example might be someone using their mobile phone to find their way to an office for an interview, or someone booking an appointment to see their doctor about a sore throat.

5 reasons you should be using scenarios

1. Scenarios help to keep a design grounded in reality
Scenarios help to ‘keep it real’ by forcing you to think about how real people, in real situations will use your product or service in the real world.

2. Scenarios help you to focus on the ‘what’, rather than the ‘how’
Scenarios help you to initially focus on the ‘what’ of a product or service, rather than the ‘how’. What do users need it to do? What part does it play in their life? They help you to think about the problem, rather than just the solution.

3. Scenarios help identify required features
Scenarios help to identify the features and functionality that will be required, and more importantly why those features and functionality are useful to users.

4. Scenarios help you to consider the bigger picture
Scenarios help you to think about the part that your product or service will play in someone’s life. They help you to initially consider the bigger picture, and to see the proverbial wood from the trees.

5. Scenarios help to communicate
By utilising the power of storytelling scenarios help to communicate a design. They are a great way to walk someone through a design and to put across the design vision and the design thinking that has been applied.

The complete guide to scenarios – part one:

The complete guide to scenarios – part two:

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