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Words-of-Wisdom: use-cases

Line-by-line Instructions

Default Aspects of All Use Cases
Individual Use Case Template

Advice from ReadySET Users

To add your own words of wisdom, please send an email to the dev mailing list.


Guidelines for Writing Use Cases

  • Capture the user's intention, not the details of a particular UI.
  • Each use case should show the user succeeding at a goal. Any type of failure or error should be handled as an alternative.
  • If one use case has too many steps or extensions, split it into two use cases. Use the "perform" notation to refer to shared steps.
  • If it is not already clear from context, you may want to number the steps of an extension to indicate the point in the main use case steps where the extension starts.
  • The actor, frequency, and use case name should fit into this sentence, both logically and grammatically: "An ACTOR will FREQ want to USE-CASE-NAME." If the frequency is "Once", scope the timeframe: e.g., once per user, or once per customer, or once per installation.
  • If a use case has more than about 9 steps, you are probably showing too much detail (or the task will be really hard to perform).
  • Evaluate the usefulness and usability of your system by evaluating the use cases before going further with design or implementation. See the words of wisdom for links to evaluation techniques.
  • One good evaluation technique is the cognitive walkthrough. At each step think of a confident answer to these questions:
    • Would the user realize that they should do that step?
    • Would the user recognize the proper button to press?
    • Would the user be able to provide the needed information?
    • Does the system provide an indication that the user's action succeeded?

Further Reading