Sunday, June 12, 2016

Learning about scenarios

Ciarrai, Diana and Renata have been writing about their research on scenarios!

Scenarios follow from personas (see week 2). If personas tell us who uses the software, the scenarios tell us how and why they use the software. So a sample scenario is a short description (usually a paragraph) of why this persona is using the software.

Renata said, “Scenarios describe how users accomplish their tasks in a specific context and also provide examples of usage. Scenario is a description of one or more users interacting with with the system under specified conditions.”

Ciarrrai found this great quote from InfoDesign about scenarios: “A scenario is a description of a person’s interaction with a system. Scenarios help focus design efforts on the user’s requirements, which are distinct from technical or business requirements.”

GNOME is a desktop system, so the scenario is likely going to be about how they launch applications and open files from within GNOME. And that’s a good scenario for a desktop system. That’s how people use GNOME.

Or if you’re writing a scenario that involves some GNOME applications, such as Notes to jot down a few reminders or gedit to edit a file, those applications are certainly part of the GNOME system. So you might have a scenario about how your persona needs to make a reminder using the Notes application.

Renata, Ciarrai and Diana are now writing some sample scenarios about GNOME.

We also got a preview of scenario tasks. Scenarios are similar to scenario tasks, but they are not the same. We’ll learn more about scenario tasks next week.

There’s an important distinction between scenarios and scenario tasks. A scenario describes how a real person would use the software. A scenario task is something you give a tester during a usability test, and the scenario task is representative of what real people would actually do in the software. So we’re learning about scenarios this week to make it easier to create scenario tasks next week.

Scenarios help you to understand the goals for using the software. Diana commented about scenario tasks: “Once you’ve figured out what the users’ goals are, you need to formulate task scenarios that are appropriate for usability testing. Scenarios specify how users carry out their tasks by providing some context and supplying information the user needs to know, but doesn’t.”

Renata added this about scenario tasks: “A scenario task is a set of steps that the participant needs to perform to accomplish a goal. Once you’ve figured out what tasks you want to test, you’ll need to formulate some realistic task scenarios for participants to accomplish. In short, a task scenario is the action that you ask the participant to take by providing the necessary details to accomplish that task.”
image: Outreachy

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