Devising user journeys helps to bridge our initial user-research work (e.g. user interviews and the creation of user personas) and the design and build steps.
The first build step in this project will be an interactive prototype of the MacGuffin web app. We’ll list-out features provided by the web app and the native mobile app, and the underlying API which serves them. User journeys are going to help us get to this step, informing our decisions about what the prototype will need to do, and what it might look like.
When sketching user journeys, I like to devise fairly detailed fictionalised stories describing scenarios for specific users. Where we have user-personas in mind, I’ll usually write scenarios specifically for them. So for MacGuffin, I’ve taken some of the writer personas (the kind of people we think are likely to consider uploading their work) and created scenarios for:
Don: a writer using MacGuffin for the first time
He’s trying to work out if MacGuffin will be a good place to share some of his writing. He’s experimenting with using tags to search for writing that’s of interest to him, and then trying out the reading/listening experience. This scenario talks through the experience of a first-time user learning how the ‘free tagging’ system allows readers to find work. It also talks through the experience of a first-time user rating and tagging a story.
Tom: an experienced MacGuffin user uploading a piece of writing
This scenario talks through the three main steps when adding a piece of work to MacGuffin: adding the text, uploading the audio, and tagging the work – then the options presented to the user for sharing their story beyond MacGuffin, using social media and links. It also talks through the dashboard which an experienced, frequent MacGuffin user sees when they login to the web app: key information for them as both a consumer of work on MacGuffin (e.g. new work which is recommended to them based on their previous reading) and as a writer (e.g. top line stats for their stories).
Aisha: an early MacGuffin user uploading a piece of writing for the first time
This scenario talks through the support content and community pages that will help new users with MacGuffin. In particular, it walks through the support content aimed at writers who need to capture the audio versions of their work but who have little or no experience of this. Such content should aim to address the technical (e.g. hardware / software for recording audio), practical (e.g. finding or creating suitable physical spaces for audio recording), and performance (e.g. reading in a compelling, engaging way) aspects, and this scenario talks through some of the material which Aisha might see to this end. The scenario also talks through additional ‘on-boarding’ content which is presented in the user interface to help guide users uploading content for the first time (or perhaps for the first few times) and helps guide users to relevant supporting content and community pages.
These user journeys have already proved helpful in uncovering lots of things which the team have had to discuss and think through and in starting to define the features that the platform will provide. Moving quickly into prototyping will now allow us to delve into greater detail as we refine the user interface for the various features. It will also allow us to start testing some of our ideas out with real users – this should help to reassure us that we’re on the right track and also help with elements we’re unsure about.
Dan Goodwin is a User Experience Designer at fffunction.