Chapter 6. The Foundations of Design: Scenarios and Requirements

In the two previous chapters, we talked about how to gather qualitative information about users and create models using that information. Through careful analysis of user research and synthesis of personas and other user models, we create a clear picture of our users and their respective goals. This brings us, then, to the crux of the whole method: how we use this understanding of people to create design solutions that satisfy and inspire users, while simultaneously addressing business goals and technical constraints.

This chapter describes the first part of a process for bridging the research-design gap. It employs personas as the main characters in a set of techniques that rapidly arrive at design solutions in an iterative, repeatable, and testable fashion. This process has four major activities: developing stories or scenarios as a means of imagining ideal user interactions, using those scenarios to define requirements, using these requirements in turn to define the fundamental interaction framework for the product, and filling in the framework with ever-increasing amounts of design detail. The glue that holds the processes together is narrative: using personas to create stories that point to design.

Scenarios: Narrative as a Design Tool

Narrative, or storytelling, is one of the oldest human activities. Much has been written about the power of narrative to communicate ideas. However, narrative is also one of our most ...

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