Define your type of user, their mission or goal, and what kind of pain points or obstacle s/he might encounter during their journey.
Define your type of user, their mission or goal, and what kind of pain points or obstacle s/he might encounter during their journey.

The 3 UX principles behind a powerful user story

User, mission, paint points

Eva Schicker
4 min readSep 9, 2022

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What exactly is a user story?

A user story is a dynamic, fictional narrative that gives the user persona its overarching story. It highlights the type of user, her/his mission, and possible pain points.

User stories complement the user persona. Sometimes, user stories might be referred to as scenarios.

A user story is told as a 3-part sentence. It succinctly unfolds the user’s journey to complement the mission/goal, while encountering pain points/obstacles in so doing.

User stories are accessed by all members of the UX team and stakeholders. They serve to further empathize with the user for whom the product is being designed for. With a user story as a reference, important design decisions can get prioritized throughout the entire development process.

The user story, also known as hero, goal, and conflict in fiction

As in fiction, where the hero achieves reaching her/his goal while overcoming conflict, in a UX user story, our user accomplishes a mission while encountering possible pain points.
As in fiction, where the hero achieves reaching her/his goal while overcoming conflict, in a UX user story, our user accomplishes a mission while encountering possible pain points.

In a fiction, we identify with the hero, her/his goal to be achieved for the story’s conclusion, all the while encountering conflict during the journey of reaching the goal.

The same is true for a user story. In the user story, the user is doing a specific tasks using a product or service to fulfill a need. The user is our hero, engaged in accomplishing a mission or reaching a goal, but dealing with pain points or conflict along the way.

As UX designers, we need to identify the user’s story and tell it in real, yet fictional, form. To phrase such user story in classic short form, we employ a 3-part sentence structure that allows us define the hero, the goal, and the conflict in detail.

The who, what, and why

First, we define who our type of user, or hero, is. Secondly, we define what action our user needs to take to reach their goal. Thirdly, we define why this action needs to be taken and for what type of benefit.

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Eva Schicker

Hello. I write about UX, UI, AI, animation, tech, art & design through the eyes of a designer. UX lead Lelantos Press, NYC UX GA grad. Top writer 5x.