It’s All in the Story

David Enarson | February 2, 2015 | Mobile Strategy

There’s no question mobility has the power to transform your business, but you may not know where to start. At Propelics, our mobile strategy kickstarts enable you to build a rapid app prototype so you can showcase the app’s business benefits to key stakeholders. Better yet, we can bring you from idea to functioning prototype in just two weeks. You can bring your strategy to life quickly with a prototype. To do this, you don’t need a fully functional app, rather an app that has some key functioning paths you can illustrate with compelling stories to demonstrate how mobility can provide value to your business.

When developing a prototype or building an app, it’s best to focus on scenarios or user stories rather than worrying about packing the app with every feature possible. Most commonly, two to three scenarios may be comfortably demoed in a final role-playing exercise. Oftentimes it’s difficult for technical clients to step outside the realms of “how it works” or “is it possible” and instead focus on how users will actually interact with the product.

This keep-it-simple approach will enable your company to create intuitive, user-driven software that resonates with employees. During ideation, we identify key ideas and prioritize them according to business value. Then we have the client compose scenarios (stories) describing how their employees will use the app.

These help define the steps for accomplishing a goal in the app. We ask them the following deceptively simple questions:

  • What do you want to do?
  • What do you want to see?

As part of this story process, don’t focus on how the app should work. We aren’t creating a set of features, but identifying a user’s core business needs.

Here’s an example of some stories for using the Apple Music app.

High Level Need: I’d like the ability to listen to music on the go.

song1

Scenario:

  1. Open Music App
    1. See options to access Radio, Playlists, Artists, Songs, More, Store, Now Playing
    2. See that by default Artists is selected
  2. View Artists
    1. I’d really like to view the artists as a list because I have a lot of artists in my collection
    2. The information I’d like to see in the list is:
      1. Name of Artist
      2. Number of Artist’s Albums
      3. Number of Songs for the Artist
  3. View Songs for an Artist
    1. I think it’d be really cool if—when viewing an artist’s songs—I see the following:
      1. Albums (Each album for the artist)
        1. Album artwork
        2. Album name
        3. Number of songs in the album
        4. Total length of the album in minutes
        5. Year of the album
        6. Songs for the album
          1. Name of the song
          2. Length of the song (minutes)
  4. Listen to a Song
    1. When I listen to a song I’d like to view:
      1. Album artwork
      2. How much of the song has played (Minutes:Seconds)
      3. Total length of the song (Minutes:Seconds)
      4. Name of the Song
      5. Name of the Album
    2. I’d like the ability to:
      1. Go to a previous song
      2. Pause the song
      3. Go to the next song
      4. Manage volume
      5. Repeat the song
  5. Pause the Song
    1. I’d like to know visually that the song is paused
  6. Listen to a Different Song
    1. While listening to a song I’d like the ability to listen to another song

As you can see, none of these steps cover which buttons to tap and in what order. Nor do they discuss technical components of the app such as the Artists module, etc.

This business-driven approach ensures the software is built with the best user experience to solve your needs. If you don’t write the story, important business details that only you know may be left out.

Also, when teams fail to consider story-driven development, features tend to be included that may make sense independently but which don’t work well together in a real-world situation. This disorder leads to a frustrating user experience and decreased adoption.

Using this example story, several Music apps could be developed that encompass various user experiences, all accomplishing the same goal. Story-driven development, however, provides room to innovate and eventually helps bring even the prototype demo to life, allowing you to mimic the behavior of actual users. So the next time you are participating in a prototyping exercise, always be sure to advocate for the user by telling a compelling story.

The story-driven approach affords Propelics the latitude to use our mobile strategy, user experience, design, and development expertise to create the best solution to your business problem, no matter what that problem may be. We will carefully study your business processes, inform on how they might be best accomplished on mobile devices, and produce a story-driven prototype to drive that point home.

David Enarson

David Enarson is a Mobile Strategist at Propelics. He has experience leading mobile application initiatives in the Enterprise, specifically with sales force audiences. He has worked with well known brands in the Pharmaceutical, Consumer Packaged Goods and Services verticals. David combines his ability to chart out a big picture strategy with his technical aptitude and understanding of the complexities of the Enterprise to drive value for clients. He has a true passion for startups and mobility and was a past participant and coach at Startup Weekend Chicago. David’s interest in mobility began early on when he founded a company to develop and market applications for the Palm OS.

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