Drawing out use cases

Visualizing use cases

Drawing out use cases

More than a few times, I’ve been asked for a visual representation of FrontlineSMS:Medic‘s use cases. I can always flip through photographs and tell stories, but there is demand for a more graphic and ‘networked’ explanation. I took half an hour today to sketch out a few – many others were left out – in an experiment.

I’m looking for some feedback – in your eyes (whether or not you’re familiar with FrontlineSMS:Medic), is this helpful?

Posted: December 14th, 2009
Categories: Other posts
Comments: 15 Comments.
Comment from Ajay Kapoor - December 15, 2009 at 12:41 am

I think its pretty good, though I would suggest adding color to the picture to help highlight the ‘sms’ phone aspect. So what I personally envision is that in each drawing the phone is colored in to help contrast the device from the particular task that is being shown.

Just a thought.

Comment from Michael Downey - December 15, 2009 at 1:31 am

This looks great. If you want to take it even a step further, consider adopting personas, basically creating “characters” (based on real-life users) for these different use cases.

More info: http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/personas.html

With personas (or even with the use cases), you can throw all design changes up against them and see how they react. Much easier to make mistakes with your personas than with real people! :-)

Comment from Kevin Donovan - December 15, 2009 at 1:54 am

Is this ‘impact’ or ‘uses.’ To me, impact would bring to mind studies about efficacy, live’s saved, etc.

Otherwise, seems useful. Perhaps also a movie like Ushahidi recently did: http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2009/12/04/what-is-ushahidi/

Comment from Josh - December 15, 2009 at 2:21 am

@Ajay — good idea! I’m hoping to pass this on to someone with *actual* artistic skills, and I’ll pass on your suggestion.

@Michael — Very smart – personas as crash-test helpers during think-storming sessions.

@Kevin Important point. These graphics outline ‘uses,’ and I’ve changed the post’s title to make it clear. Outcomes could certainly be woven in… Also, Jason and Ory’s video is wonderful; if you know an animator with some free time, let me know!

Comment from lilalia - December 15, 2009 at 7:51 am

The way the sketch is presently drawn, the person sitting at the pc in the hospital is too static. There should be an apparent connection between that person and other medical experts in the hospital (doctors and nurses). I’d also suggest drawing a mobile phone at the end of each dotted line that connects to the patients. For clarity, you could also write a sample SMS for each of the use cases. You could differentiate between consultation, referral, and reporting of information better by writing specific case studies SMS (e.g. “Broken leg. What to do?”). This is what you are trying to do with the white printed information, but it’s sometimes specific and sometimes general.

Comment from Josh - December 16, 2009 at 2:18 am

@Liliana — very astute, thanks! I thought about the level of detail you’ve suggested, and will keep your suggestions in mind for round two.

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