The Problem

Quick, you see a guy squinting their eyes like in the photograph below:

A guy squinting his eyes

What do you think he needs?

Some might say contact lenses.

The others might say glasses.

The one who is rich enough, you know who you are, will say LASIK surgery ;)

Again, this fluffy fella has one problem but that one problem has many solutions.

Then ... how do we decide on which solution to pick?

Believe it or not, that is a very typical problem we face in design.  In the last guide, you have created user personas.

Thus, you know for whomwho you are designing your product. You know your potential user's struggles and goals. Yet, all those goals and struggles lack unity.

To unite, all of this information in a structure, we rely on user scenarios.

Featured download

Hey guys, in this post we will cover a lot of ground for user scenarios so for you to remember the process of creating user scenarios, I created a checklist that will help you implement each time you begin a new design project. I attached it to the end of the blog post ;)

What is a user scenario?

According to    interaction design foundation, user scenario is:

A user scenario is the fictitious story of a user’s accomplishing an action or goal via a product. It focuses on a user’s motivations, and documents the process by which the user might use a design.

The most important two words in that quote are "story" and "goal".  First, a user scenario is a story that encompasses all the characteristics of our user persona we find inthe research phase. Yet, that story cannot be arbitrary. The story has to be about a particular subject and the subject is the goal our primary persona is trying to achieve as he uses our product.

The most important benefit of user scenarios

You know how much I hate Microsoft Word. For a long time, I had to use it because I did not know any better. Then, I started using Ulysses to write my blog posts and other writings:

Ulysses Desktop Writing Editor

Now, one of the key problems I had with Microsoft Word was that ıt hurt my eyes after an hour of usage. The strange thing with Ulysses is that I could use the application for 3-4 hours and yet I would not feel any pain in my eyes. My head would not hurt.

Why is that?

Because of the color palette of Ulysses. It has a dark color palette that is really important beacause bright colors actually tire your eyes very quickly.

Why the hell are you telling me this Ahmet?

I am telling you that because even the choice of your color palette will be influenced by the context of usage of your product. Ulysses is using a dark color palette here because they understand the user who will use their product will use it for an extended amount of time. That is why the designers shied away from using a brighter hue.

That is the most important thing. User scenarios will make you and your team understand how the context influences your persona's usage of the product in an interaction. That is why we rely on these scenarios.

We need a user scenario

In the previous guide, we have created user personas. Yet, our user personas tell us nothing about what we will build. It tells us the problem yet the way we will go about it is need to be determined.

Again, even if we know that our vision is impaired, we have to come up with a solution. For every problem, there are bazillion potential solutions and it is up to you to figure out which one is the best.

That is where user scenarios come into play.

How to Create User Scenario for our vegetable delivery product

If you have not read the beginning post of this series, go here. Let's create the user scenario for our vegetable delivery product, shall we?

Below is our user persona that we are working with:


Step 1: Brainstorming

The most important thing in a brainstorming session is to create as many ideas as possible. Thus, below are the five solutions I came up with to help Jane solve her problem:

  1. A mobile delivery app that will connect with grocery stores
  2. A gardening app that will help Jane cultivate her own vegetables
  3. Monthly subscription food box that has enough veggies for her weekly diet
  4. A hardware fridge that can be sold to supermarkets to keep the veggies frozen longer
  5. A vegetable education app for fitness people to help them stay lean

Do all of these ideas make sense? Nope, I personally hate fourth one :D

Now for your own project, you can come up with as much as 10-20. What is important is you set a time limit let's say 15 minutes and during that time limit, you don't criticize the quality of the ideas.


Because most often, the right idea will not be the first one or the last one but a mix of bunch of ideas.

Step 2: Filter your ideas based on your persona's expectation

Now, while we have 4 ideas, we have to test out if they satisfy our persona's expectations. We have two goals:

  1. To reduce the struggles of our persona
  2. To get them to arrive their goals

All right, now Jane desires to save time on groceries and wants to stay fit. Well, while the mobile delivery app and food box ideas satisfy her satisfy both of those goals, she doesn' know which vegetables will help her burn fat.

What we could do is merge the mobile delivery or food box idea with the education app idea. Now, to decide which ones to merge, usually it is best to talk with the tech team or stakeholders again but for the sake of the tutorial let's say we picked the mobile veggie delivery app and education app.

Step 3: Create your user scenario

There are several questions our user scenario has to answer. Some of these questions are:

  • The frequency of usage of the product
  • The environment where the product will be used
  • The technical complexity of the product
  • The struggles the product helps to solve for the user

Below is an example user scenario for our product:

User Scenario for Jane

Who is the hero of our user scenario

It is really important to use our persona as the main character of our scenario. If not, everything becomes random. There is a reason why the first 2 guides were about user research and persona creation.

You probably from the research phase already know some answers you need to create the scenario such as "how often your persona will use the product or in which environment.

Download the checklist

Hey guys,I know creating a user persona is really complex so I have added a 8 step checklist of mine to make sure you can always be sure that you created a user scenario based on important principles, check it out ;)