Scenarios for Solving Problems

Because user stories or JTBD are not enough

In case you’re not familiar with user stories, they’re framed like this:

“As a ___ I want to ___”

An example is: “As a user, I want to login to access my account.”

That’s a fine statement for developers to make sure logging in is functional, but Kim Goodwin argues it’s not enough for designers. No human has ever said, “Yeah, I’m going to login to access my account this weekend.”

Her solution is Scenarios.


As defined by the workshop in the context of design, a scenario is:

“A plausible future story about a persona using the product or service from start to finish from the personas perspective.”

Now that I think about it, it seems a little silly that this needs to be a workshop. Because, well of course, shouldn’t we be putting together statements to talk about how our product affects the future state of our audience?

But we don’t!

To make a scenario, you need: User research, which enables you to build Personas, which enables you to build journey maps.

The workshop went into great detail about how to make these pieces and I highly recommend that you take the workshop if you don’t have a good base in user research.

From there — you imagine the future. What in that ‘Current’ journey map is going wrong for your audience? Take all the constraints away and start big — what could you put in front of this person that is ideal and perfectly solves it? What are the functional needs that it implies? Storyboard it out to get a visual representation of what you’re proposing.

Take the workshop!

Those are the big blocks for this workshop, and I highly recommend it.

Some convictions I have following this workshop are that InterVarsity needs to have some visible representation of who we’re serving — our Students, Donors, and Staff.

Only then, can we start taking a look at what their future with us looks like.

If you find this at all interesting, check out the author Kim Goodwin and her book Designing for the Digital Age

I wrote some other thoughts about UI22 and the other workshop I attended, Scalable Design Systems as well. Let’s meet up at UIconf in the future, yeah? :)

Ashley Crutcher is a Digital Designer at InterVarsity located in Madison, WI. She tweets at @ashleyspixels and enjoys cuddling with her cat, crocheting, working out, and thinking too much about everything.

Donate to Paul & Ashley @ InterVarsity

Digital Designer

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