Agile User Stories To Aid User Experience

by | Jan 9, 2019 | User Experience

As a user experience specialist might tell you, agile doesn’t combine well into the UX environment. Vice versa too. Logistically speaking these statements are true, but not in every circumstance. User stories can be so beneficial to the outcome for the end-user, and they can be developed in such a way that they actually combine agile workflows and user experience. Let’s unpack this a little further.

When we speak about user stories, we mean: a short, goal-orientated statement that is representative of the user and their needs. It can be broken down a bit further to describe a statement similar to this:

  • It speaks to who the user is
  • It speaks to what they want
  • It speaks to why they want it

All project stakeholders should have a say in what the user story should be as it is a collaborative design tool. This in its essence is borne from an agile development background, but it has its place in designing user experience.

User-Centred Stories

User stories can often be created from what establishments think a user wants. They are created without any user research. While this is better than simply placing a product or service out there and hoping for the best, conducting proper user research into who the user is, what they want and why they want it, will deliver the best results that match these questions.

Often, we think about who a user is from our personal experience. This is where user stories can lose their significance because they are painted with the same generic brush. We have to widen the net and capture more detail into who the user could possibly be. By being empathic towards a users’ needs, we can better identify what they could need or want by spending a moment or two in their shoes.

Using data, research, personas, user scenarios and all project stakeholder insight, you can begin to create user stories. All of the factual information you have about the user is to be the core of your stories as this is what you know to be valid.

There are often gaps in between what the user wants and what they need; interpretations from different stakeholders can also be modified versions of what the end goal should actually be. Developing a simple and straightforward user story can help businesses overcome this problem, this can be done by speaking to the statement: “As a … I want … so that …”

Collaboration Is The Core Of User Stories

Getting all stakeholders to speak the same language when talking to the user story is the key to making it work. This includes the client, the account management team, the creatives, the development team – everyone involved needs to speak the same language and understand it fully.

At any point during the agile workflow of the project, anyone should be able to pick up the user story and understand their role in carrying it through to fruition. Each sprint is clearly defined, and everyone knows their place in helping it reach completion in as simple and straightforward way as possible.

As mentioned earlier, user stories are goal-orientated, which means that they have a tangible end in sight. They are the perfect way to keep a project on track in order to best serve the user, what he or she wants and why they want or need it.

Ready to use user stories to develop and perfect your project outlay? Give us a call and we will see you through it.