Four hundred and twenty seven: that’s the average amount of clicks a person performs on average every day, according to Prof. Fernian at Cornell University.
To the unaware user, these gestures may seem effortless, but in reality each one is the result of careful planning and build.
The mapping out of the actions on a website is one of the key elements of a project scope. Referred to as ‘User stories’, it helps define a set of deliverables within a digital project. The result is a set of manageable tasks that the developers team can execute on and test against.
User stories help define the functionality of a product and are often the result of process frameworks like Agile or DAD.
Writing good User Stories
This process is made simpler by following the INVEST acronym:
I stands for independent
N stands for negotiable
V stands for valuable
E stands for estimable
S stands for small
T stands for testable
These parameters can serve as a reference point for everyone involved in the website development process, which should be staged as follows:
Step 1: the card
A typical user story is written in this way: “As a [user], I want [function], so that [value].
Step 2: the conversation
An open dialogue between project team members. The answers to questions can be recorded as ‘User Acceptance Criteria’ bullet points. The User Stories are re-evaluated and split into new user stories through various processes.
Step 3: the refinement
By workflow steps: if a user stories involves a workflow (activity diagram), it usually can be broken up into individual steps.
By business rules: involving a number of explicit or implicit business rules.
By basic flow / alternate flow: involving a main scenario (basic flow) and one or more alternate flows (when the process takes a different path).
Step 4: the confirmation
The confirmation is a test case. A test case is a series of steps that a user must take to achieve a user story. A test plan is a collection of test cases.
To render the concept, here’s a User Story example. Let’s pretend to be a developer at a video sharing platform working on the upload functionality, the card should look like ‘As a creator, I want to upload a video from my local machine so that any user can view it.’
The User Story will be structured along these lines:
- Click the “Upload” button.
- Specify a video file to upload.
- Check that .flv, .mov, .mp4, .avi, and .mpg extensions are supported.
- Check that other file types aren’t able to be uploaded.
- Check that files larger than 100MB result in an error.
- Check that movies longer than 10 mins result in an error.
- Click “Upload Video”.
- Check that progress is displayed in real time
Ultimately, writing User Stories is piecing together every micro-action users may perform online. It means working with inputs from human psychology, technical knowledge and business insights into translating the way users interact with a brand online.
Click, tap, tap. These familiar actions that we carry out every day, sometimes without too much thinking, behold painstaking planning and are a precondition to revenue in the current online landscape, where user experience is becoming more and more crucial.