Scenarios module: User Flows, Sitemaps and diagrams
The Scenarios module offers a robust diagraming tool that can be connected to the rest of your prototype. It can provide the stakeholders of your projects different ways to visualize aspects of the application that you’re designing that are hard to visualize in the prototype. The typical usages of Scenarios are to diagram User Flows and to lay out Website Sitemaps. The flexibility of the tools allows you to diagram practically anything.
You can create as many Scenarios as you want and make them visible in the Simulation. You can also link from the screens in your prototype to the scenarios expanding the ways to communicate complex flows. You can even restrict the navigation of your prototype by what is defined in the scenarios to guide the users.
The Scenarios module overview
- Toolbar – here you can find all the elements to draw a User Flow in the canvas. You’ll find components like Screens, Actions, Decisions, Notes (text boxes), Images or arrows to connect all those elements together. You can also launch the simulation of your prototype starting from the current Scenario opened. You can find a detailed description of each element of the toolbar in the next section.
- Scenarios – a list of all the scenarios you’ve created. You can change the scenario displayed in the canvas by clicking the scenarios in this list.
- Screens – the screens of the prototype you’re currently working on the UI module. If you drag a screen to the prototype, a Screen element will be added to the scenario linked to that screen.
- Canvas – displays the contents of the scenario. You can use the tools in the toolbar or the screens in the palette to lay out your user flow.
- Properties – a list of properties for the selected element in the canvas. You can edit many style properties of each element to make them your own.
- Layers – a list all the elements in that scenario ordered by depth.
The Scenarios module toolbar
In the scenarios toolbar you can find the following options:
- Select tool – click here to change from a different tool to the selection tool.
- Screen tool – click and then click again in the canvas to add a Screen element to the scenario. Screen elements are just icons in the Scenario by default but you can link them to specific screens in the prototype using the Properties palette. Once linked, the icon will be replaced by a synchronized screenshot of the linked Screen.
- Decision tool – click and then click again in the canvas to add a Decision element to the scenario. Decisions are just for diagramming purposes, they don’t affect the navigation of your prototype.
- Action tool – click and then click again in the canvas to add an Action element to the scenario. Actions are just for diagramming purposes, they don’t affect the navigation of your prototype.
- Note tool – you can use this tool to draw text boxes in your scenario. Notes are highly customizable and can be use to draw any kind of diagram.
- Image tool – clicking this tool will allow you to add any image file to the scenario.
- Connection tools – this tool is used to add connections between elements in the scenario. The first type of connection will be rectilinear, and the second one straight. You can change that in the Properties palette.
- Zoom level – you can control the level of zoom in the canvas using this component. Clicking on the arrow will show additional zooming options.
- View on device, Simulate and Share – equivalent to the same icons in the User Interface module.
Creating a new scenario
To create a new scenario, click the ‘+’ icon in the Scenarios palette. Here, you will also see a list of all the scenarios you’ve created. If you want to open a scenario, just click on it. Double-clicking will allow you to rename a Scenario and right click (ctrl+click on Mac) will show additional options.
Diagramming transitions and flow validation
You can draw connections between elements in your scenario by using the Connection tools from the toolbar. First, click on one of those tools and you’ll see the cursor change. Move over one of the elements you may have on your canvas and you’ll see a preview of the starting point for that connection. Click and drag to another element in the canvas to create a new connection.
You can customize the look and feel of that connection in the Properties palette. If the connection is between two screens, Justinmind will check if that implied navigation matches any of the events created in those screens in the User Interface module. If not, then a warning icon will show up. If at any point you create a navigation event between those screens, the warning message in those connections will go away.
All information in the scenarios can be exported to a MS Word document along with the rest of the information of the prototype. Use the main menu options ‘File – Export – Spec. document/Customize spec. document’.
It’s really easy to diagram a site map using the Scenarios module. First click on the Note tool and then on the Canvas. Customize the look and feel of that note for your liking using the Properties palette. Then copy and paste that Note (or text box) for as many screens you’re defining in your Site Map. Finally, use the connection tool to diagram your Site Map and define the hierarchy of your screens.
Creating screens from a scenario
Scenarios can be a good starting point to design your applications, before getting into the details of the contents of each screen and their interactions. In many methodologies, defining User Flows is the first step before getting into user interface design or even wireframing. The good thing is you don’t have to do the work twice since you can create Screens from the screen elements in a scenario. To do so, right-click on a scenario screen and select the option ‘Design screen contents’. A new Screen will be added to the prototype with the name you set up in the scenario and you will automatically be taken to that screen in the User Interface module.
Then, you can define the content and interactions of that screen to flesh out the navigation flow. If you go back to your scenario, you will see how the icon has been replaced by a synchronized screenshot of the actual screen in the prototype.
You can display your scenarios in your simulation as if they were any other screen. Actually, you can even create a navigation event on a screen that shows a Scenario. Once in the Simulation mode, you can even restrict the navigation of your prototype by what is defined in one of your scenarios. For that, follow these steps:
- Go to the toolbar and click the ‘Play’ icon to launch the simulation.
- In the Simulation mode window that appears, click on the hamburger menu in the top right-hand corner. A slide menu will appear with two tabs: “Screens” and “Scenarios”.
- Go to the “Scenarios” tab and select the scenario that you wish to simulate.
- In the simulation Canvas, click on the component where you defined the beginning of your navigation flow. In the pop up that appears, click “Start scenario simulation”. Then the simulation will launch that screen but only the navigation events that match the arrows in that scenario will work. You can preview the step you’re in your scenario on the top bar.
You can stop the current simulation and/or change the navigation flow, remove the filter in the top toolbar of the Simulation window like so:
If you share your prototype you have the option to also share the scenarios in that prototype. Reviewers will then be able to see the scenarios and add comments to them. They can even add comments to specific elements within a scenario.