Mapping Out Scenarios:

Using the iRise Whiteboard

As you begin an iRise project, getting your bearings can seem a little overwhelming. Similar to the writer who stares at a blank page, or the artist at a blank canvas, an iRise modeler is faced with the sometimes daunting task of getting started.

Fortunately, most iRise modelers do not work in a vacuum. Getting a project off the ground – especially a requirements definition project – is often simply a matter of getting the project team on the same page. Defining the high-level business requirements and project goals creates the necessary momentum, and the building of application scenarios provides the road markers to keep the project moving in the right direction.

Integrated within iRise Studio is the Scenario whiteboard, a simple tool that makes this process a seamless part of the iRise project lifecycle. Creating scenarios is a crucial exercise that promotes early consensus on the vision for a new software application. Rather than trying to capture a flow diagram drawn on a physical whiteboard, however, the output of the Scenario whiteboard in iRise directly translates to pages, decisions, requirements and other components that can then be built out during the next project phase.

Watch a Video

Watch this video to view a demonstration of the tasks we’ll cover in this tutorial.

Creating a new scenario

Directory New Chapter MenuA scenario in an iRise project is a Directory-level component (sometimes referred to as a “chapter”). To create any new component in your Directory, expand the New menu above the Directory panel and choose the desired component.

When naming your new scenario, take into account the task that is being performed and the specific user who is performing the task. For example, common Scenario names might be “Customer logs in” or “Loan processor creates loan file.” Naming your scenarios in this manner limits their scope and provides a clear indication of the scenario goal.

After you’ve typed a name for your scenario and pressed Enter, the Scenario whiteboard will be displayed in your workspace.

The Scenario whiteboard

Just as a physical whiteboard can be used during a meeting to list out ideas and visualize process flows, the Scenario whiteboard in Studio provides a highly interactive, yet extremely simple mechanism for collaborating on screen flows and high-level requirements. A typical ideation session with stakeholders often yields multiple scenarios, providing the modeler with a clear set of objectives for defining functional requirements.

Scenario Whiteboard

Scenarios can be edited in both Simulation View and Document View. This gives you the ability to capture narrative-style requirements as you visualize screen flow, thus enabling you to tell the story, both in pictures and in words, of the user experience. We’ve deliberately kept the whiteboard interface as simple as possible to make sure nothing inhibits the storytelling process. Rapid iterations are the key to making these ideation sessions as productive as possible. With this in mind, the five components described below are the only ones that can be added to a scenario.

Scenario components

Start IconStart icon - The Start icon is the only component automatically added to a new scenario, and indicates the scenario inflow, or starting point.

PagePage - Pages in iRise are analogous to pages in a web application or screens in a desktop or mobile application.

DecisionDecision - Decisions are used in scenarios to visualize branching navigation. Because there is usually some business logic associated with decisions, they are typically named in the form of a question (e.g., Valid login?).

Embedded ScenarioEmbedded scenario - Occasionally, the inflow of one scenario might be the outflow of another. Scenario embedding enables you to visualize these relationships.

Cloud - Clouds can serve more than one purpose, however the most common is to represent a backend process that you need to represent in your scenario, but does not have a user interface.

Adding scenario components

The first step in building a scenario is populating the whiteboard with scenario components. There are three methods of doing this:

Visualizing screen flow

Showing the flow from one scenario component to another is simply a matter of dragging one component and releasing it on the other. The result is a curved arrow that provides a conceptual link between the two components (actual links are added while editing the components themselves). In the image below, take note of the following:

Scenario Flow

Getting the most out of your scenarios

Here are some tips to help you employ scenarios for maximum impact in your projects.