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User Scenarios for Learning

User scenarios have become a staple of product and software development, marketing and web design. They help designers and developers understand when, how and why users do what they do on a website or with a product.

By developing user scenarios that help us understand when, how and why our users use Extension information and services, we can learn more about communicating the right message, in the right context and at the right time to affect a user's behavior.

You create user scenarios by combining user demographics and psychographics with specific detailed situations where learning and behavior change might occur.

Here's an example:

Extension's Just-in-Time Parenting program seeks to reach parents with the key information that can help their family unit thrive and support their children as they grow up healthy and ready for success.

Possible user scenarios:

"A young mother is worried because her 6-month old son is having trouble sitting up on his own. Their pediatrician says not to worry; all babies develop at different rates. As she sits on the floor with her son, watching him trying to sit up, she decides she'd like more information on infant development."

"A new father standing in the store looking at baby formula. One formula label boasts that it is fortified with Lutein and DHA/ARA for eye and brain development. He'd like to get the fortified formula, but it is $3 more per can than formula that is not fortified. He'd like to know if the fortified formula will really help his infant daughter and if it is worth the increased price."

"A couple in their 50's are raising their teenage grandson. In the past months they have felt increasingly distance from him. His grades have fallen and he has twice been suspended for verbal outbursts at teachers. The couple feels they have tried everything and are at the end of their rope. The boy's grandmother is standing in their kitchen at 2 a.m., worried and unable to sleep. She knows that they need help, but she doesn't know where to find it."

Looking at scenarios like these and determining what kind of information the user needs and how they can best access in their scenario can help us find ways to help people with the right content, in the right context and at the right time.

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