What is a user story?

A user story is a brief description (a few sentences) that describes what users can expect from a certain product. The term is most frequently used in software development, and can also be used for data design.

The overall structure of a user story is: As a <role>, I can <action> so that <benefit/purpose>. Each user story should only cover 1 functionality/purpose.

I want to know ___ so I can better understand ___ and create a visualization that ___.

As an example, a user story for the Firearms and Frappuchino visualization might be:

As a user, I want to type in my hometown in the search bar to find out the distribution of gun dealers and Starbucks shops in a 30-mile radius.

If your visualization has a display-on-hover feature, a user story might be:

As a user, I want to hover over specific icons to reveal additional information about that subject.

For Thursday’s class develop some user stories that describe your plans for project 2.

Here’s a sample regarding a Van Pelt Library visualization:

I want to know how much students use the Borrow Direct system so I can understand Penn Library’s relation with other schools’ libraries.

• What books (and their genres) are borrowed from other schools the most?

• Which books are lent out from Penn to other schools the most?

• Which schools do we borrow from the most?


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