Sanity-check your scenarios

in User scenarios

One thing you want to do with your scenarios is to check that they’re representative of what users will want to do and how they behave. Scenarios well-grounded in contextual data collected directly from users is therefore critical.

But sanity-checking  your scenarios in terms of common user concerns is useful. Usability guru Professor John Carroll developed a set of common user concerns based on the analysis of many scenarios from several different designs.

Check whether your set of scenarios cover the following situations:

  • Encountering the system for the first time – how will users know what they can do, what goals are supported?
  • Opportunistic interaction – exploring and trying things out. What might users try to do?
  • Searching – what searches might users want to do?
  • Following procedures – how does they system help users through step-by-step procedures?
  • Seeking and using explanations – for example, working out why something isn’t working, or working out what novel terminology might mean.
  • Skill development – encouraging users to develop more effective strategies, use more functionality, or become more efficient?

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