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I understand that building Use Cases for a specific site or app more often come from a Business Analyst, though sometimes a UX consultant can help to construct depending on the context. Now,What are the differences that a Use case will bring in against a task flow diagram. How use case still be avoided (if so) by building scenarios and user journey models? My question is specifically -

1.Should a Use case be a starting point? Or would you use any UX tools?

2.Would you replace Use cases with something equivalently robust and best? In which cases would you recommend an alternative?

3.What would be those alternatives? If use case not standard "UX tool" or "method" - how would you bridge the gap?

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I suggest defining what's meant by 'Use case' and 'Business Analyst'. I've seen these being used in many different ways and I do think it's important for the question to understand this. –  greenforest Jun 20 '13 at 9:04
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2 Answers

For me Use Cases are more high-level representation of a system (who uses it and what functionality it has). Creating use case diagrams are easy enough and quite agile. The general vision of the system is formed on this step.

Task flows are decomposition of every task for every kind of user. Without general vision it's hard to dive into details. Here interactions are born.

Maybe my way is biased by my background and the "clean" UX folks have other vision.

P.S. The use case diagrams of such kind are drawn within a seconds (on napkin, of course).

use case diagram

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There are quite a few questions inside your main one, but regarding the one in the titles:

You could use Archetypes or Personas. Personas are not that far from use cases, but give you some extra information that you might find very useful, especially if you are in the architecture stage.

Personas are fictional characters that represent your user base, and include details such as age, sex, occupation, education, interests and more. Archetypes, on the other hand, are modeled around a behavioral perspective (for example, photography centric, task centric, or identity centric models), and they give a better view of behavior in interaction design.

There are quite a few discussions (example 1, example 2) about the relevance/importance of using personas. I've personally used them in past projects and they were quite helpful.

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