Capturing the common “interaction pattern” ensures consistency across all applications and reduces redundant documentation & programming effort.
Definition: A use case is a series of related interactions between a user and a system that enables the user to achieve a goal.
The Use Case Guideline ensures that similar information is presented consistently and eases redundant documentation.
The Best Practices “standards” document captures the bottom-line operational attributes of the system from a UI perspective. Much of this behavior can be described as “patterns” that recur again and again.
Here’s a couple of use case interaction patterns that we see regularly throughout our sites. These are basic, necessary, repeatable functions:
Search by Criteria
- Choose search criteria
- Run the search
- Display the results
- Select a result
- Preform an action on the result
Edit a Form
- Set your context
- Fill in the blanks
- Save (check validation: Reset, Cancel)
A visual interface is based on visual patterns.
— Allen Cooper
The wireframe screenshots shown above are from FISA CityTime, a 2004 project to integrate Timesheet and Payroll Management services across 80 New York City agencies with more than 200,000 employees. A big part of our challenge was to design a standard look & feel for CityTime’s common services across multiple agencies.
The Behavioral Use Case simplifies design
Such a Behavioral Use Case (BUC) is “global” in the sense that it is re-used throughout the site.
Laboriously redefining the Behavioral Use Case again and again is inefficient and inconsistent: the BUC should be defined as a unique Use Case. Once this has been done it can be easily referenced when appropriate.
By identifying and capturing the commonly recurring “patterns” we can reduce the workload, increase effectiveness and ensure consistency.
the Pattern as a Guideline
The use case guideline that describes a pattern of behavior should always
- use consistent terminology
- identify specific, relevant information
- describe process in a predictable order
Patterns => Best Practices => Intelligent Design
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