Create clear use(r) case stories with visuals

Technology and software change projects require careful consideration for how users will experience the solution. Often called use cases, these stories are first person accounts of how various audiences will interact with a solution to accomplish specific tasks.

These stories can be used to demonstrate new features, advantages to the consumer (and sponsoring company) and of course the process steps required. Alistair Cockburn, an innovator of the methodology, describes the Casual use case with the fields:

  • Title (goal)
  • Primary Actor
  • Scope
  • Level
  • (Story): the body of the use case is simply a paragraph or two of text, informally describing what happens.

Our starting point was a well-written narrative

Obviously use cases benefit from improved graphic consideration for all of the above participants. Following are several examples of how a use case can be developed more visually for the benefit of audiences that need to understand objectives and benefits of a process change quickly.

Use Case sketch

After some adjustments were made to the actions and benefits to be highlighted, the final version was produced in PPT for discussion around system changes required to enable new improved user experiences.

Use Case in PPT for programming consideration

Use cases are fantastic candidates for visual translations as they benefit from a storyboard approach that introduces the actors and stories in an easy to understand manner. Here are a few more notes on use cases from our friends at Wikipedia that support a VISUAL approach.

  • Use case templates do not automatically ensure clarity. Clarity depends on the skill of the writer(s).
  • Use cases are complex to write and to understand, for both end users and developers.
  • As there are no fully standard definitions of use cases, each project must form its own interpretation.
  • Some use case relationships, such as extends, are ambiguous in interpretation and can be difficult for stakeholders to understand.
  • In Agile, simpler user stories  are preferred to use cases.

    Give faces to use cases!