CMPS183, Fall 2011, Section 01: Scenarios - Description

One of the key initial challenges in a Web application development project is understanding the needs of the project's customer, capturing those needs precisely, and communicating back to the customer a preliminary notion of how those needs can be met. This is known broadly as requirements elicitation. While there are many requirements elicitation techniques, two that are commonly applicable to Web application development are scenarios, and paper prototyping/storyboarding.

Scenarios involve Web application engineers producing written, textual descriptions of how various kinds of users interact with a Web application. These are essentially short stories written about the use of the system from a specific user's point of view. These typically involve a person interacting with the application to perform a specific task. For example, important scenarios for the EBay application include putting an item up for auction, and putting in a bid for an item.

Paper prototypes involve sketches of major pages of functionality in the Web application. These sketches can be neatly hand-drawn, or they can be quickly developed using a computer drawing or web page authoring program. Sometimes, paper prototypes are sketched on a whiteboard during a meeting with the customer, and are quickly and interactively modified based on feedback during the meeting.

Storyboards are a form of paper prototype where the connections between pages is more explicitly represented in the diagram. However, like paper prototypes, storyboards also have rough mockups of the sequence of screens encountered in performing a particular scenario of operation.

In this assignment, your group will create scenarios and associated paper prototypes or storyboards for each major functionality offered by the Web application you are developing for your term project. Your team may use either paper prototypes, or storyboards, depending on which seems most applicable for the application.

For more details on the assignment, see the template description.