User Stories

A User Story is a brief description of a user need, typically expressed in the format “As a (type of user), I want to (complete a task) in order to (accomplish a greater goal).” This format is commonly used as part of the Agile methodology of software development to communicate requirements without prescribing design solutions.

Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Preparation: 2 or 3 weeks
  • Writing Process: Several hours
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • User research materials previously gathered (including Personas)
  • Spreadsheet software

Carry Out This Method

  1. Based on existing research, determine quality of life improvements that each of your personas would appreciate.
  2. Brainstorm potential ways of addressing those needed improvements. Think about what software may be capable of doing to improve your user’s quality of life.
  3. In a spreadsheet, write your User Stories in this format: “As a (type of user), I want to (complete a task) in order to (accomplish a greater goal).”
    • For example: “As a busy working parent, I want to find gas stations and fast food restaurants on or near my route to and from work in order to lose less time when I’m in a hurry.”
  4. Use those stories to rule out the least feasible solutions based on the context in which your user would be using your app. Your stories should increase empathy for the user and allow the team to more clearly imagine real use contexts.
  5. After you have written a sufficient number of User Stories, have the team prioritize them for development, then work them into short project phases (or “sprints” in the Agile methodology).

Try These Tips

  • User Stories are useful whether within or outside the Agile context.
  • This method can be carried out as a meeting with a few members of your product team, or by one person as a final step after Brainstorming or another ideation session.
  • These user stories can be repurposed as testing scenarios in a Usability Lab test; your app should successfully aid users in carrying out the tasks you chose to focus on here.
  • The term “user” isn’t restricted to customers. Do not forget that the client has business needs that must be met by your product as well. Use the User Story format to define their goals too.

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