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Elaborate on research from your Discovery phase.

User scenarios


A method for telling a story about a user’s interaction with your product, service, or website, focusing on the what, how, and why.


To communicate a design idea by telling a story about a specific interaction for a specific user. Through creating user scenarios, you’ll identify what the user’s motivations are for using your product, service, or website, as well as their expectations and goals. User scenarios help teams consider both how the same user’s needs might vary depending on their context and how a diverse group of users in the same scenario might have different needs. By constructing user scenarios, you can help the team answer questions about how accessible, inclusive, and adaptive your product, service, or website is.

Time required

1-3 hours

How to do it

  1. Determine a few personas or user groups to focus on. Consider what scenario(s) might be the most critical for that user, including scenarios in which users face limited accessibility.

  2. For each user, list out their goals, motivations, and the context/environment in which they interact with your product, service, or website.

  3. Put the details you came up with in step 2 into a story format that includes the following information:

    • who they are (persona or user group)
    • why they are using your site (motivations)
    • where they are (context)
    • what they need to do (their goal)
    • how they go about accomplishing the goal (tasks)

    Keep in mind, the more realistic details you add, the richer and more useful your story becomes for helping to understand your user’s behaviors.

  4. Share the user scenarios that you’ve written with the user group (and other relevant team members) for validation, feedback, and refinement.

  5. Examine your product, service, or website in light of these user scenarios and identify opportunities to make adjustments that would improve users’ experiences.

Additional resources

Considerations for use in government

No PRA implications. No information is collected from members of the public.


18F Methods

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