A user scenario is a narrative of how a user will use a product and in what context.
User scenarios are the stories acted out by users of your design. They are used to plan and predict how a user will interact with your design in a given situation to complete a particular task.
User scenarios are useful as they allow the designer to test the project structure and isolate potential issues and problems a user may face when interacting with it.
Scenarios range from generically detailed to a high level of complex details and need to include the “who, what, when, where, why and how” elements of usage.
WHO- Who is using the design? Are they an experienced or inexperienced user? Who are they as a person, and as a user?
WHAT- What is the user doing when using the design? What task are they trying to complete? What steps will they need to take to complete their task?
WHEN- When will the user be interacting with the design? Will the design cater to quiet prolonged usage at home, or is it intended to be used in short bursts on the go?
WHERE- Similar to “when”, where will the design be used? In a quiet place where the user can focus? On the go in noisy environments? While moving or stationary?
WHY- Why should a user choose to use YOUR design? What can they gain from using it? What is the user motivation, long and short term goals?
HOW- How will the user interact with your design? What specific steps will be taken to achieve their goals and complete their task? How will your design cater to each user?
Depicted below is an example of a user scenario map
Linking user personas with user scenarios allows the designer to address specific issues and tasks that may be undertaken by target users of the design. This allows thorough testing and informed decisions to be made regarding the design/project structure.