Mission First

Design for users
Achieve the mission
Start well

Mission: A specific task with which a person or a group is charged


1. Design for users

Who are the users?

Software should be design for users to use. Before you can make a design useful you must understand the users and the business processes involved in the system, this is driven by deep collaboration. Value comes from users achieving their objective of using the system.

‘Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.’ AMP #4

The designer must know:

  • the users and their abilities,
  • the functions they want to perform
  • the expected frequency of use of each function.

The best way to learn is to experience. Sit with the users, do their work for them under their superversion. If other systems exist, then try them out too, take screenshots, make notes. Document everything.


Writing user stories can be more useful than simply trying to isolate use cases. Giving users personas helps keep things in mind during design and development that may be relevant. They often spur good ideas, they give a richness that a use case might not document as use cases tend to be process descriptions. The documenting of design for users and developers (and business rep sign-off) should be in narrative format, not the sparse pseudo code that was favoured in the early days of software engineering.

User story want to document the situation and the motivations, the location and time of day, the other responsibilities or distractions facing the user.

Put key points up on the wall. Decentralising command, flexing empowerment means everyone is a designer, we want good ideas from everyone. If things are on the wall, they are broadcast to everyone and they becoming an open invitation to contribute.

2. Achieve the mission

What are the users trying to achieve?

Less is more but sometimes more is more; the art is to make complex things clear and efficient but not simplistic and tedious.

Is it data entry?

Is it finding information?

Is it making a comparison?

Is it browsing?

How do the missions overlap and interact?

Know your users, keep this in mind when translating the user stories into use case narratives.

Combine multiple use cases into single documents. Are there patterns?

Defining the workflow, usually with decision points and states is imperative.


Design to consider future business uses.

3. Start well

What would be the best way to welcome a user?

Ease users in, know your users!!

Be friendly to new and infrequent users but do not waste the time of frequent users by nerfing for sake of new or infrequent users.

Direct training is the best way to ease users into to business systems.

1. Welcome notifications

3. Offer extended guidance

2. Respect standards