In 15 words or less
The action you want your user to complete.
In a few more words
Any software app that’s created is done so for a reason (in the majority of cases). Within that wider context, there will likely be all kinds of specific actions that you want a user to actually take: these are your use cases. Think: registering for an account, looking at their records, searching for a product, paying for a product, filling in a form, creating a post, sending a message or making a booking. All of those are different use cases.
In software development, a use case has a few different elements. It typically has a description of the user’s goal (see above), the steps a user takes to achieve that goal and any interactions between the user and the app. So written descriptions, yes, but it can also be represented in drawings and diagrams too. That basically helps developers understand what the application needs for a user to complete that action.
Why do you need to know?
- It’ll help you understand the requirements of the app you want to build. Getting clear on the exact use cases you have in mind for your app will clearly benefit the designing and building process. That includes confirming that the app you’re hoping to build is actually addressing the problem you’re trying to solve.
- It’ll ensure your app is actually usable. You want your app to be as user-friendly as possible – well that’s where mapping out use cases comes in. You’re essentially ensuring the needs of your users will be met throughout their interactions with the app. You’ll also be able to identify – and fix – problems users might encounter later down the line.
‘I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. We’re struggling to find a use case for you.’
‘I’ve thought carefully about all the different use cases for my app, and I’m ready to start building.’