A Snapshot of Entire Product — User Story Mapping

I learned the user story mapping when I worked as a product design intern at a startup company. They used this method to build their products.

I think it is really a powerful technique that helps to organize what functionalities we need to build for users and also serves a good communication between team members.

User Story Mapping Brief Introduction

The technique is for product development. It was championed by Jeff Patton, who has designed and developed a variety of software for the past 20 years. By this technique, we could — Snapshot what features and tasks the entire product or services would have and prioritize the functionalities based on necessity and production in a tentative way.

A user story mapping could include the following components:

  1. High-level user activities of the product (backbone)
  2. Tasks/steps
  3. User stories

All the components in the user story mapping are timeline-based.

In practical, we could think each user story is a piece of functionality that supports the user task, the whole work could be done iteratively with conversations between team members. Therefore, this approach is really helpful for organizing the thoughts from team members and ensure everyone in the team is on the same track.

How to Develop User Story Mapping

I’m going to demonstrate how I use the user story map to envisage the new Pratt Institute Libraries website by using RealtimeBoard. Also, before starting to build the user story map, we have to make sure we fully understand the user needs, so we could think about how the functionalities can support the user needs when building the story mapping.

For redesigning the library website, I’m going to build the story mapping with the user scenario — I need to find a book and reserve for a course as an example.

  1. Map out user activities based on the user scenario

2. Build users tasks that help to complete the user activities

3. Break down each task to functionalities that support the task and prioritize them

This is just an example of how I build the user story mapping. In a real situation, the user story mapping should be done collaboratively with team members.


By this method, we could clearly understand how users would interact with the product or service and the team could see the potential issues and problems before they begin to develop the product. Furthermore, all the content and details of the story mapping would come from team members’ discussion and it always a work in progress. Once the first release of the user stories is decided by the team, we could see the first release as our goal for the minimum viable product (MVP) and iterate on it.


Jeff Patton & associates. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from http://www.jpattonassociates.com/user-story-mapping/

User Story Mapping. (2017). Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://www.lucidchart.com/blog/how-to-create-a-user-story-map

Bowes, J. (2017). An introduction to user story mapping. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://manifesto.co.uk/user-story-mapping/

Patton, J., & Economy, P. (2014). User story mapping: discover the whole story, build the right product. O’Reilly Media, Inc.



Keep growing and exploring life - Product Designer @ Toronto

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