Stories behind a click
To the unaware user, these gestures may seem effortless, but in reality each one is the result of careful planning and build.
The mapping out of the actions on a website is one of the key elements of a project scope. Referred to as ‘User stories’, it helps define a set of deliverables within a digital project. The result is a set of manageable tasks that the developers team can execute on and test against.
User stories help define the functionality of a product and are often the result of process frameworks like Agile or DAD.
Writing good User Stories
This process is made simpler by following the INVEST acronym:
I stands for independent
N stands for negotiable
V stands for valuable
E stands for estimable
S stands for small
T stands for testable
These parameters can serve as a reference point for everyone involved in the website development process, which should be staged as follows:
Step 1: the card
A typical user story is written in this way: “As a [user], I want [function], so that [value].
Step 2: the conversation
An open dialogue between project team members. The answers to questions can be recorded as ‘User Acceptance Criteria’ bullet points. The User Stories are re-evaluated and split into new user stories through various processes.
Step 3: the refinement
By workflow steps: if a user stories involves a workflow (activity diagram), it usually can be broken up into individual steps.
By business rules: involving a number of explicit or implicit business rules.
By basic flow / alternate flow: involving a main scenario (basic flow) and one or more alternate flows (when the process takes a different path).
Step 4: the confirmation
The confirmation is a test case. A test case is a series of steps that a user must take to achieve a user story. A test plan is a collection of test cases.
To render the concept, here’s a User Story example. Let’s pretend to be a developer at a video sharing platform working on the upload functionality, the card should look like ‘As a creator, I want to upload a video from my local machine so that any user can view it.’
The User Story will be structured along these lines:
- Click the “Upload” button.
- Specify a video file to upload.
- Check that .flv, .mov, .mp4, .avi, and .mpg extensions are supported.
- Check that other file types aren’t able to be uploaded.
- Check that files larger than 100MB result in an error.
- Check that movies longer than 10 mins result in an error.
- Click “Upload Video”.
- Check that progress is displayed in real time
Ultimately, writing User Stories is piecing together every micro-action users may perform online. It means working with inputs from human psychology, technical knowledge and business insights into translating the way users interact with a brand online.
Click, tap, tap. These familiar actions that we carry out every day, sometimes without too much thinking, behold painstaking planning and are a precondition to revenue in the current online landscape, where user experience is becoming more and more crucial.