User Stories User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

What are User Stories?

User stories are representations of small instances in peoples’ lives. They are a type of scenario used in design processes to enable a designer to empathize with a user and, from there, generate ideas that fit into the user’s life. Rich in trivial details, such as activities, thoughts, and emotions, user stories can be presented through different media.

In order to create user stories, a rich fund of information is needed on the users’ lives. A designer or design team can only obtain this by conducting qualitative research. Observations, contextual interviews, and other ethnographic methods are typically used in the research process. Users can also be asked to create their own personal stories actively—doing so after being provided with a probes kit. Such kits hold a variety of materials and assignments that the users can complete over the course of a week so as to capture their experiences from their own perspectives—and in context—for the designer. When all information from multiple users is gathered, the designer selects the most relevant insights for the design problem, and then merges these into cohesive user stories. They can be represented as written stories, visualized storyboards, or short movies.

In a design process, stories are what designers use to help them empathize with the target groups. These also serve as inspiration when designers are creating solutions that fit into their users’ daily activities. They can be used alongside personas or integrated with them. Understanding just how much closer user stories bring the users’ world to the drawing board is key for any designer whose aim is to fine-tune a product that will consistently latch with the users’ needs on a daily basis.

Literature on User Stories

Here’s the entire UX literature on User Stories by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about User Stories

Take a deep dive into User Stories with our course User Research - Methods and Best Practices.

User experience design requires you to understand your users. If you don't know what your users want, you can only deliver what they want by accident. User research is how we come to understand what our users want—it's the largest part of user experience design. This course will give you insights into all the major UX research techniques and how to put them into practice on your projects.

User research is often the first step of a UX design process, because you cannot begin designing a product or service without first understanding what the users want. By gaining skills, and learning about the best practices in user research, you will be able to get first-hand knowledge of your users in order to design the optimal product—one that sells better than your competitors’.

Through this course, you will be introduced to the various aspects of user research, getting exposed to qualitative and quantitative user research methods. On top of that, you will also learn how to analyze the results of your research and confidently present your findings to your clients and stakeholders. User researchers play an instrumental and valuable role in any organization and, as such, receive a healthy remuneration, from an average of $81,000 to as high as more than $120,0001.

All literature

Personas

Ch 30: Personas

The persona method has developed from being a method for IT system development to being used in many other contexts, including development of products, marketing, planning of communication, and service design. Despite the fact that the method has existed since the late 1990s, there is still no clear definition of what the method encompasses. Com...

Book chapter
Contextual Design

Ch 8: Contextual Design

Contextual Design is a structured, well-defined user-centered design process that provides methods to collect data about users in the field, interpret and consolidate that data in a structured way, use the data to create and prototype product and service concepts, and iteratively test and refine those concepts with users. This is ...

Book chapter
Design for All

Ch 42: Design for All

42.1 What is Design for All?Contemporary interactive technologies and environments are used by a multitude of users with diverse characteristics, needs and requirements, including able-bodied and disabled people, people of all ages, people with different skills and levels of expertise, people from all over the world with different languages, cul...

Book chapter