User case matrix

Do you want to define your audience in the context of their usage situation?

What is it?

The exercise helps understand a product’s potential users in the context of their usage circumstances. Using the quadrants to understand product users will help to identify pain points opportunities of an existing or proposed product and ensure that the product is based on real user needs.

Why we use it?

When it’s still early days in developing a product idea, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of users in shallow persona types, rather than the need being solved or circumstance of use. The User Case Matrix helps avoid this by segmenting users based on the experience to which helps understand what customers are seeking in a given circumstance and identify new product opportunities.

How and when we use this

We usually use this tool as an exercise in our Discovery workshop for Architect. You can define the matrix before the session, which will require a little pre-planning, it it can be done as a team in the workshop:

Roles and goals

Brainstorm different reasons or goals for the user to interact with product e.g. browsing v.s. booking

Situations and circumstances

Brainstorm different usage situations or circumstances you believe will have the biggest impact on how the product is used e.g. low vs. high level of technical knowledge

Reason / goal

Decide on the reason / goal which is likely to have the largest impact on how users interact with a product that suggest polar user cases and plot on x-axis

Circumstance criteria

Decide on the usage situation or circumstance criteria which is likely to have the largest impact on how users interact with a product that suggest polar user cases and plot on the y-axis

Example scenarios

To get in the mindset, create example scenarios to describe each quadrant

Pain points and opportunities

Review the product idea from the perspective of scenarios, looking for pain points and opportunities

Vote

Vote on the quadrant with the biggest opportunity to further validate

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This is our scenario based approach to understanding and solving complex problems quickly.