The very first user story

What did i mean to write here, I wonder?

When I created this draft document, I no doubt had some concept in mind, and it could be adequately encapsulated (I might now assume) with the title, “The Very First User Story”.


What I might have had in mind then, I am now uncertain of, entirely. Plus, I have fifteen minutes to un-draft this thing, as I’ve decided to go to church this morning. Let’s break it down:

In user experience design (UX), a user story is a scenario that describes one possible route a user might take through your designed experience (software, pavilion, vehicle, etc). Designed experiences will often have multiple routes through them – which could be summed up with multiple user stories. These stories are a way to think of how the experience could be designed and implemented.

For example: “User opens the Box, intending to learn about its capabilities.”. This story suggests that the Box‘s design must consider the scenario where an uninformed user opens the Box with the intention of becoming more informed about the Box‘s capabilities, and how they might use them.

Do they encounter a manual? Does the Box offer to bring them through a tutorial? Are they exposed to all of the Box‘s capabilities (presumably buttons, switches, dials, etc.) before they even demonstrate their ability to responsibly use the Box, and all of its varied powers?

Asking and answering these questions will lead to design decisions, which will lead to aesthetic, functional, engineering, quality assurance, and project management decisions. This will drive sub-teams to do their best work, guided by the product’s design bible- the stories of users trying to use the product.

What do I know about UX? Only the fringey bits I’ve been exposed to while working in the IT industry. All of the above is therefore to be taken with a grain of salt each.

I like playing with words. The title, “The Very First User Story”, like so many sentences, can be read to mean different things; It could mean “the first of the user stories [as more-or-less defined above] ever written”, or it could mean “the story of the very first user [begging a definition for ‘user’ in this context]”, or even, “The very first story of a user”, and probably other variants.

Perhaps my past self had hoped my future self would just write about how infuriatingly vague the English language can be. I no longer know.

Maybe I meant to write a story about a user (rather than a treatise on language or UX design), about something. This one’s wide-open. If I had a story idea at the time, my decision to shorthand it with this title was a failure.

Or was it a failure? Maybe I was jamming with myself, knowing that, once I got myself back to this title, I’d certainly come up with something to write, since I do enjoy listening to myself over-think.

The Reader may certainly suggest what they might have expected to read, when opening an article called, “The Very First User Story”. Their opinions and expectations are at least as important (and ideally more-so) than my own.

4 thoughts on “The very first user story

  1. I like the way your past self leaves clues of something to your future self which in turn give way to wonderful over thinking! 🙂

    I thought it might be the story of the first person, place, or thing to use something magical and a bit mysterious. Perhaps then predecessor of the Grand Procrastinator or Bee or the great great grandmother of Bee or the house that sat upon the hill so long ago or the quill that used the writer…

    I hadn’t a clue, the title simply overflowed with possibility!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Thank you Suzanne! All of your ideas were, as expected, at least as if not more interesting than any of my interpretations of what Recently-Past Mike might have meant.

      One of my favourite past-future-me dialogs occurred (or to be more precise, finished occurring) a couple of years ago, when I found a notebook from either junior high or high school. At the back, I had written something like: “To Future-Mike: Have they invented time travel yet? If so, please come and save me from French class. I’m dying of boredom”.

      I don’t have the words quite right, but I can well remember being that awkward teenager projecting myself into a future where I had more control over my day. I can’t say to Past Mike that I have that much more control, or that having control is necessarily less stressful than not having it, but I would like to be able to go back and confirm to him that life gets, if nothing else, more interesting. And of course, that I made it to 48. That would probably have been good information to know.

      I like the notion of asking kids what they might say to or ask of their future selves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember French class!! That was a good note to your future self 😊. I like to come across old notes I’ve written on one thing and another. I’m often intrigued by them.

        I understand that teenage self and younger even. To really remember how it feels to be an age makes a difference. It gives a compassion to now and keeps your mind open to other perspectives. Yes, you’re very spot on that life at the very least gets more interesting. I never thought about it quite like that but it’s true. There are too many wonderful things to think of and read and explore for it not to be utterly fascinating.

        I’m so intrigued. You are always here and there will always be a future self. What should I ask of me or tell myself. Hmmm. I’ll be pondering this one. And no doubt I’ll be asking every child I come across. There are so many ways to tell a story 😊

        Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy to have helped inspire an idea that might make some young folk think about time and possibilities, and what they may imagine of their future selves 🙂

    Time capsules! What time delay might they choose, and what would they include?

    Liked by 1 person

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