For many business owners, a great way to visualize what a user experience should be like for their prospective customers is to use a user story mapping tool. A user story is essentially an action or reaction that a user takes when he or she navigates through a website. Typically, a user story describes the entire site experience from beginning to end – from entering your site to leaving, to actually using your site. It’s also useful to think about it in terms of the website as a whole since user stories describe the website as a mini-experience, complete with the images, colors, sounds, and content that make up that experience. Therefore, the more user story mapping tools you have in place, the better your website will feel to your user.
One example of a user story mapping tool is a screen capture application. A screen capture application takes one or more photos, and then uses those images to create a “snapshot” of your website in real-time, or “as is.” You can use this information to brainstorm different ideas for your landing page, as well as being able to see the actual progress of your website in real-time, so that you can adjust things as they need to be, without having to wait for the end of the day.
Another user story mapping tool is a backlog system. There are a number of backlog applications available, which are either web-based or require a subscription to the service. Regardless of the method, it requires that someone, usually a team member, maintains the backlog. They do this by collating the information and marking areas that aren’t moving forward so that they can all work together to make changes to the backlog accordingly. As with screen capture software, a backlog system can be used to brainstorm ideas and can be used to collaborate and stay on track. This is much less difficult than trying to get each person to work individually on everything, as everyone will be working toward the same goal.
Collaboration is another very important benefit of real-time collaboration. When you are planning, designing, or speaking in front of others, you must pay close attention to what you are saying, as well as how you are saying it. You cannot simply look at a piece of paper and say; “I would like to have this section changed,” or “I want to add this new idea to the list of features.” Rather, the entire conversation is planned, designed, and executed in real-time – no matter what you are doing.
The last benefit of using a user story mapping tool is that it can help you develop your idea into a real-time game. In other words, rather than merely “spinning” an idea around on a screen, you actually have a lot more control over the way that you develop the idea. While this might not seem that important with some ideas – maybe because those ideas are so easy to execute – it can make a huge difference in how quickly and easily you develop ideas into actual products. Particularly for product development teams, it is crucial to get your ideas out onto the shelf, to be taken seriously, and to be used in a real-time manner by others. Without this ability, ideas die – often without even being put into a production mold.
The key to these benefits is to use a user story mapping tool that enables you to plan, collaborate, and execute on user stories in a way that works for your team. There are a number of tools out there, but you should focus on getting a tool that allows you to plan and collaborate in real-time. This way, remote teams will be able to quickly develop and deploy new features – allowing your company to move faster towards its goals. No matter what type of idea you have, there is probably a user story mapping tool that will make it easier for you to execute it in an effective and timely manner.