User Scenarios

In this resource on the basics of user scenarios, you will learn about creating narratives that detail the motives and methods of a customer as they interact with your experience. Understanding what triggers customers and defining their goals and expectations through scenarios allows you to build more realistic customer journeys, ensuring that you align with their needs and never disappoint.

Knowing what triggers customers to use your experience will help you take ownership of the interaction. Creating scenarios to accompany your user personas will allow you to build more realistic customer journeys. Scenarios define your user’s goals and expectations, which ensures that you never disappoint.

What is a User Scenario?

When a user interacts with an experience, they always have an end-goal in mind. User scenarios are narratives that detail the motives and methods of a customer as they perform a specific task.

A scenario answers the following questions:

  • Who is the user and what are their goals?
  • Why might they be coming to your digital experience?
  • What does the user need from an experience and how will they accomplish their goal?

Why is a User Scenario Important?

Creating a user scenario helps a business focus on what is most important to users and develop a more relevant experience.

Specifically, user scenarios help businesses:

  • Determine what drove users to the experience in the first place.
  • Determine what type of experience is needed at each step.
  • Identify what content, features, and functionality will appeal to the user.
  • Uncover unspoken and hidden expectations.

What is Inside of User Scenarios?

Paragraph 1: Who is the User?

To develop your backstory, you need to get a grasp of how the user thinks and acts as they complete a task. Personas contain qualitative information that helps with this section, but by definition, some of the required information may not be present in the persona itself. As you write this paragraph, try to keep it brief, using around five sentences.


  • What is the user’s gender and age?
  • Where do they live and work?
  • What is the user’s educational background?
  • What is your subject’s income bracket?
  • What makes them unique?
  • What is important to them?

Paragraph 2: What are the User’s Goals?

Your second paragraph should describe what the user is trying to achieve when engaging in their experience. Often, you need to define a big goal and then break it down into smaller goals. Make sure to note any requirements necessary for them to be successful. Like the first paragraph, this one should also be about five sentences in length.


  • What does the user need to achieve?
  • What outcome do they expect?
  • If applicable, what is their budget?
  • What constraints do they have in completing the goal: time frame, travel restrictions, budget, etc.

Paragraph 3: What are the User’s Expectations?

This third paragraph is the “meat” of your document. Its purpose is to describe what a user expects to get out of their experience. The trick is to fully describe the need of the customer in about seven sentences. You might find it necessary to break it into two paragraphs instead of one.


  • Initial questions:
    • What are their underlying motivations behind those needs?
    • How does the user expect to be treated during the experience?
    • Keeping those questions in mind, you should strive to look even deeper into the mind of your user.
    • How well does the user understand the task they wish to complete?
    • Are they a first time user or an expert?
    • Does the user value personalized or a custom-tailored experience to meet their needs?
    • Does the user want a lot of detailed information to make an informed decision or is the user content with a summary?
  • What does the user value most?
    • Convenience?
    • Art or design-focused experiences?
    • Simplicity or complexity?
    • Rich media such as video tools or apps?
    • Decision-making tools (product comparison tools, calculators, etc.)?
    • Utilities?
  • How does the user think?
    • Is the user introverted or extroverted?
    • Socially active?
    • Socially minded?
    • Methodical?
    • Organized?
    • Adverse to risk?
    • A traveler or homebound?
  • Is the user:
    • Culturally literate (theater, books, etc.)?
    • A sports enthusiast?
    • Motivated by money?
    • Altruistic?
    • A foodie?

Paragraph 4: Why does the User Engage?

The final paragraph of your scenario describes why the user would choose this particular experience over that of another. It helps identify a specific type of functionality or content that may differentiate your experience from others.

Keep in mind that users are not just comparing your experience to that of competing companies. They compare it to every experience they encounter in their day-to-day interactions (i.e., Amazon, Google).


  • What brought the user to the experience?
  • Why would they choose it over others?
  • How important is this destination for them to complete their goal?

Considerations when Creating User Scenarios

User scenarios are typically written in the form of a story. They are concise and usually consist of about 4-5 paragraphs. The goal is to present the scenario on a single, succinctly written page.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when writing user scenarios:

  • Use a narrative format to tell the story of the user’s experience.
  • Keep the scenario short and simple, focusing on the most important aspects of the user’s journey.
  • Use clear and concise language to convey the user’s actions, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Avoid unnecessary detail or technical jargon that could make the scenario difficult to understand.

By following these guidelines, you can create user scenarios that effectively communicate the user’s experience and help inform the design of your product or service.

Scroll to Top