David Benyon1 and Catriona Macaulay2

1Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

2Duncan of Jordanstone College of Artand Design, Dundee University, UK


We describe a method for the design of interactive systems. The aim of the method is to ensure that the interactive systems that we design are usable, useful, and engaging. The method is scenario-based and uses four different types of scenario: user stories, conceptual scenarios, concrete scenarios and use cases. We also include a method for arriving at a conceptual system design from a ‘corpus’ (i.e. a logically coherent and complete set) of scenarios using and object/action analysis.


The method was developed while working on a European research and development project to produce a new device—a home information centre (the HIC). One key feature of this setting was the large cross-disciplinary and multi-lingual project team. There were also several people working in parallel on different applications for the device. Scenarios proved very effective at providing a ‘lingua franca’ for the project (Erickson 2000) allowing different people to focus on concrete settings and characters in order to express their concerns and design ideas. The method also proved useful in arriving at appropriate functionality for the applications through undertaking an object/action analysis of the scenarios. Since then it has been used on another similar large European ...

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