Scenario-based design (Carroll & Rosson, 2002) is a Human-Computer Interaction methodology for considering the needs of potential users, without their direct input. Scenario-based design gives the interface designer the ability to create scenarios of use, along with postulations on the various types of users, expressed in the form of personas (Grudin & Pruitt, 2002). These scenarios and personas can be useful in the context of a design project, where real world issues preclude the direct involvement of users at a critical stage. By ‘walking through’ informal narrative descriptions in the form of a story, scenario-based design focuses on human activity rather than technology.
We propose that scenario-based design can be utilised to fill gaps in a collaborative project, where, due to circumstances beyond the control of the designer, other parties have not provided vital information before the prototyping stage. Scenario-based design can allow us, as designers, to consider the needs of our potential users when circumstances mean that we would not otherwise be able to.
While different disciplines utilise proprietary project management methods, scenario-based design bridges gaps between practice-specific epistemologies, allowing contributions from different fields to feed the project at any stage of its progress. This paper details our early reflections as designers working on an ARC Linking Grant-funded, interdisciplinary project to redesign a bushfire warning website. We explain that scenario-based design can act as a catalyst, to ‘kick-start’ a project where, due to various factors, timing or resources means that direct contact with users is not always possible.