A few days before the arrival of summer, I received a call from a client who wanted to optimize her digital platform. She wanted to advance it technically to support the organizational strategic vision, as well as the evolution of internal needs and the needs of end customers.
A very interesting project. However, before diving into a game plan and possible solutions, I suggested that this client take a step back. I recommended that we list together some use cases of its platform and its ecosystem.
What Is a Use Case?
First, I have to tell you that I make an important distinction between a “use case” and a “scenario.”
A use case is a short sentence representing a task to be accomplished in a given context. We’re really talking about a “one-liner”. The term is borrowed from the field of software engineering, but in many ways, it is well-suited to apply to the realm of user experience.
We focus our attention on “use cases” of the internal team and end-users to cover all fronts of our organization (e.g., Front-End, Admin, and Back office).
A scenario, on the other hand, will be longer and more detailed. It is written from the user’s point of view and details the behaviour of the system or interface when responding to a user request.
For a scenario, we are talking more about a process carried out by a user. Each use case is represented as a sequence of simple steps to achieve a goal. It ends when this goal is achieved.
Here are some examples:
Do you see the difference?
Why Using Use Cases?
There are several advantages to producing “use cases” within a digital transformation project. They are particularly useful because:
- They are fast to list and easy to understand.
- By enumerating them, we can simultaneously define several company business rules.
- They also allow you to describe UX requirements but, above all, functional.
- When respected, use cases become a success index when delivering new IT developments.
How Do We Write Them?
Personally, I always start with an internal investigation with various key players within the company. I then discuss the personas (external end customers) to list, in the most exhaustive way, the different use cases.
I use a simple spreadsheet divided by persona (internal and external) to consolidate everything.
I invite you to complete the form below if you would like a copy of this spreadsheet; it will be my pleasure to send it to you.
As UX professionals, we are usually very familiar with use cases. However, I find that an increasing number of digital transformation projects require a use-case approach.
Why? At first glance, I believe scenarios are closely related to the usability of the interface and its design. Meanwhile, the “use cases” are more comprehensive, providing a 360-degree view. They allow us to cover the various aspects to be considered in a transformation project: Public site (Front-End), Dashboard (Admin), and company management system (Back office).
There is no doubt that use cases should be considered by decision-makers when their organization is undertaking a digital transformation. They bring people together, facilitate collaboration, and unite different departments (IT, Communication/Marketing, etc.).