All I had to do was look at the news article title to know it was a bad idea. Live Internet video weddings! Imagine standing at the altar, about to say "I Do," when your officiant interrupts that the wedding server is down. Weddings are stressful and expensive enough, I thought, without more technology getting in the way.
I read the article, however, and my mind was changed. A number of user stories in the article made me realize this service has a great deal of value to the right audience. For example:
- An elderly, disabled relative can't travel to the wedding site, but she still can get a nice sense of the event.
- One couple has family in Europe and the United States, so they choose a "halfway" wedding spot in the Cayman islands. Relatives who couldn't afford the trip could watch online.
- Surprise! A Hawaii destination wedding involving an older couple was quickly planned as a complete surprise to the bride. The family wasn't left out, though, since they could watch online.
Of course, these user stories have nothing to do with the system's interface, or any important technical details. In user experience, user stories are an early design process technique to start thinking about features the system needs to support. They are distinct from personas (specific, representative, detailed audience profiles based on user research) and scenarios (when users perform a specific task using an interface).
Software developers, particularly those of an Agile persuasion, think of user stories as a quick way to establish requirements. They are, but don't forget their value in building empathy for users. User stories are a great way to share customer experiences with the entire team -- a valuable practice when you are not the audience for your product.