Joy van Helvert and Christopher Fowler

Chimera, University of Essex, UK

SCENARIO-BASED USER Needs Analysis (SUNA) is a method for envisioning innovative, user-centred software products and services for future markets, six months to two years ahead. The approach is multi-disciplinary and based around the creation of a number of ‘day in the life of’ (DILO) scenarios in a series of workshop settings. As a research organisation, we have found it particularly effective as a precursor to formal requirements activity and to inform the build of concept demonstrators. Overall, SUNA functions to create explicit space for the exploration of innovative ideas informed by social research and the possibilities offered by new and emerging technologies. Its outputs are designed to interface with conventional ‘use case’ oriented development methodologies.


So far SUNA has only been used and evaluated in a limited context. It began as a byproduct of British Telecom's (BT) collaborative research efforts involving researchers from a number of different European organisations. The teams combined expertise from business, software development, and the social sciences in a mutual effort to generate innovative web-based products and services. Typical real life examples are a web-based Community Learning Service, a Device Unifying Service and a Distributed Working Environment Service. Furthermore, all ...

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