How to Improve App User Experience With User Story Mapping
Story mapping is a relatively new and completely underrated tool in agile development that has the power to transform the way teams work with business and improve UX.
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With app development, the devil is in the details, and it's the little nuances in a program that could make or break it for the users. It all starts from the beginning when requirements and specifications are laid out. Since QA management and testers are now involved from the very beginning of a project in agile QA testing, they can better understand where their audience is coming from and create scripts based on these conversations. However, testers have to go through a process called user story mapping to truly gain a sense of what they're trying to accomplish. Let's take a look at how user story mapping improves the customer experience and how teams can use it to their advantage.
What Does User Story Mapping Entail?
First, it's important to know exactly what user story mapping is. It's a process of organizing functions by user activities and is often seen as a grid with features going horizontally and stories listed into columns. The user stories are placed in order of priority, allowing testers and developers to understand what areas they need to focus on the most. According to TechBeacon contributor Yvette Francino, the user stories that make up these grids describe who the user is, what feature they want and why they need it. Although this may be short on details, it leaves developers with enough room to come up with the best solution while still keeping the user as the main focus of the effort.
From this explanation alone, it should be easy to see why user stories can benefit the customer experience. User story mapping helps ensure that people get all of the functionality that they need, and nothing they don't. The process allows developers and testers to gain an intimate understanding of what they're working toward, and this will have a direct impact on the quality of the application itself.
Using Tools to Boost Mapping Capabilities
User story mapping sounds great at first glance, but the trick is in knowing how to conduct this process in the most effective way possible. Traditionally, agile project teams would perhaps draw up a grid on a whiteboard and use Post-It notes or other markers to list user stories aligned with each function. However, this could be cumbersome if there were a lot of features or a diverse user base to take into account. TechTarget contributor Amy Reichert noted that there has to be an easy way for teams to manage, define, and prioritize stories at any given time. It will also be important for accessibility to be granted to each team member in order to keep everyone on the same page.
Luckily, there are tools that organizations can use to meet these needs. By leveraging a test management software, teams can easily log, edit and assign user stories as well as test cases. This type of system is so crucial to an effective testing team because it provides real-time updates, ensuring that teams always have the most recent progress information for software traceability. Teams can have peace of mind because it also takes out a lot of the guesswork related to when tasks are completed and what changes have been made.
"Priorities change, so keep the team's map available for frequent discussions and changes as they work through the project," Reichert wrote. "Because most priorities will change over time, the team may consider prioritizing only by iteration, not the full project. Prioritizing one horizontal slice at a time may save time in the long run by reducing rework or meeting time."
User stories aren't a new concept, but they are becoming increasingly important as businesses seek to improve the customer experience. With user story mapping and the right tools, teams can create a better understanding of what users are looking for and keep everyone on the same page, even if priorities change.
Published at DZone with permission of Kyle Nordeen. See the original article here.
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