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foundational definition of the backlog

Narrative User Scenarios enable our teams to avoid the trap of focusing on prescriptive solutions too early in the process which limits the innovation space before it is explored. They are based on personas and used to imagine the ideal experience for a specific user or customer persona.

In creating User Scenarios, we first define the solutions at a high level, in the context of their use. As we write out a story of a person interacting with the application in the course of their day, we ground the scenario in reality and, by keeping the details of the features and interactions out of the story, we enable designers to imagine the best possible solutions. The User Scenarios have the added importance of containing the key user interactions, in prose form, that the solution must support. With further definition, these are used as the inputs to the epics and user stories that are the beginning stages of a product backlog.


establish high-level concepts based on user scenarios

To generate new concepts, we efficiently and imaginatively explore multiple options for solving each design challenge to ensure that we are arriving at the best solutions. There are usually many ways to solve a problem and we don’t stop at our first good idea. 

In this activity, we take the customer’s goals, as defined in the written user scenarios, and sketch how that user will accomplish them through the interface of the application. A careful focus on how the interactions flow across screens leads to designs that enable users to accomplish their goals in ways that feel natural to them. It provides an intuitive feel to an application which is not achieved when the focus is solely on the visual aspects of an interface.

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construct an interaction model for users

establish frameworks and workflow concepts that can be validated

Using what we’ve learned about users’ mental models for everything they do in an application, we construct navigational frameworks that illustrate the structure of how people move through the application. We design the framework and also key workflows that represent how people interact with the solution.  We then bring a prototype of both the framework and workflows to users for validation testing.

Navigational frameworks help us to validate how well the foundational design of a new application is working or not working for users, before we go too far into designing and developing.

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validate concepts and frameworks with users

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Rather than developing a product that we hope will serve the user at this stage, vast amounts of resources are saved by presenting concepts to people for validation before any building takes place. Thus, after creating a set of design concepts, we make sure the designs meet the intended goals. 

Does a concept work for the people who will use it? Does it appeal to them? Where is there room for improvement? Is this concept supporting the user on both a practical and emotional level? This is how we ensure that the design direction is the correct one and tune it accordingly.

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establish a visual product identity

explore and define the visual design language

A key component of any solution is the visual appearance of the interface. An interface will be an important representation of the brand and needs to support the workflows and interaction models. Collectively, this can be referred to as a company’s design language. 

The design language is needed to drive consistency across applications and channels, delivering a  more cohesive and singular experience of the company. To develop a company’s design language, we carry out a visual exploration initiative so the team can iterate on ideas, refine them and determine the final outcome.


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