This is the fifth post in my Product Planning Series.
My approach to product development revolves around user-centered design. The basic tenet of this philosophy is that the product team must be equipped with a thorough understanding of the end user’s needs, wants, expectations and limitations in order to create an excellent product solution to solve the user’s problems.
This understanding begins with user personas at a high level and becomes fleshed out via use cases and user stories. The UX design team can then ideate on a solution to the problems the user is trying to solve and create storyboards to imagine how the solution may be implemented in the context of the product.
The words “use case”, “user story” and “storyboard” can mean different things to different people. This is what I mean when I use these words to describe the tools and artifacts I use in the product design process.
- Use case: A high level thought experiment of a workflow from a user’s perspective.
- User story: A brief description of a part of a use case or storyboard that succinctly defines a task the user has to complete, from the user’s perspective, with no assumptions placed on design or implementation. Used to describe functionality that will go into a backlog to be prioritized and managed by a product owner (in classic Agile methodology) It is usually much more granular than a use case and describes a snippet of what the user needs to do to complete a workflow.
- Storyboard: An output of the design process that illustrates the experience of the user in a journey to complete a workflow using the product. In my experience, this is the fastest and most effective way to turn a high level UX idea into something concrete that the product management team can use to test with customers and the product development team can use to plan their work.