Several of the methods already discussed are used by human factors practitioners and researchers to inform design by providing analytical findings or insights, which can be incorporated into the system redesign process. However, there are a set of methods that are specifically intended to assist the creative process of design and that align with the systems thinking and sociotechnical systems theory approaches described in Chapter 1. A selection of these methods is introduced here.

Scenarios and Stories

Scenarios are narratives describing ‘use situations’ relevant to the design process. They can be used to communicate important information about user characteristics and task context efficiently and effectively to those involved in design (Carroll 2002). Narratives help to promote an understanding of user goals, experiences and challenges to prompt design solution ideas. They can also be used to evaluate proposed designs, by considering how the scenario might be different if a new design was implemented. Systems-focussed analysis methods, particularly CWA, can provide many inputs to scenarios, including user goals, the presence of conflicting goals, different types of situations and circumstances, different strategies that can be employed, and different competencies of users.

Stories, while similar to scenarios, are different in that they represent real-life cases describing people’s interactions within the system and can be used to demonstrate a particular finding or perspective that is illustrative to discuss. They can be used for communicating information uncovered during the analysis in a concrete, specific way (Erickson 1995). They can also assist to promote empathy with users or other stakeholders within the system.

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