I am working on a project that is basically a search engine for food. It tells you the nearest place that serves the dish you want to eat. They requested me to make a simple outline about our actual goals, how to improve the user experience and where should we be heading.

I came up with this:


  • How specific they are while searching for a dish?
  • In which situation they are more likely to use the site?
  • What’s their screen resolution?


  • Desktop user
  • Mobile/Tablet user
  • Person looking for a dish
  • Person looking for a partcular type of food
  • Person looking for top/recommended dishes


  • Finding the dish they are looking for
  • Finding uselful information about the dish/restaurant
  • Finding what other people think about the dishes


  • Enabling users to like dishes
  • Sorting dishes by number of likes
  • Enabling users to comment the dishes
  • Enabling users to add pictures?


  • Logic between dish results and popup menu
  • Displaying the dishes images

This is my first time writing this kind of an outline and I have the following questions:

  • It is well organized?
  • Am I missing something?
  • Should I include something else?
  • Its interesting to see a question on the documentation of the development process. – PhillipW Nov 7 '11 at 10:13

It looks like you've made a great start.

You could condense a lot of your notes by using this structure:

"As a <user type> I want to <activity> so that <goal>"

e.g. "As a mobile/tablet user I want to search dishes so that I can find the dish I'm looking for"

There's an article about this technique here: http://blog.mountaingoatsoftware.com/advantages-of-the-as-a-user-i-want-user-story-template

One main advantage is that this structure forces you to consider the end goal and limits the tendency to add features just because they seem like a good idea.

Like I say, great start.

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  • Thanks a lot! I would definitely apply some of your suggestions. – janoChen Nov 7 '11 at 11:06
  • I think the mobile/table/desktop user should belong to a kind of category though – janoChen Nov 7 '11 at 12:27
  • Yes, I agree. I was trying to use your notes to create the example but ideally that would refer to a user type. – Rob Nov 7 '11 at 12:34
  • I already made one. But could't post the screenshot here. Here it is: pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1npueQs5lMKrg4JvtiKIuVuqzdCmD0 what do you think? – janoChen Nov 7 '11 at 12:58
  • I included two more things: different color backgrounds showing the priorities and added (d/m/t) besides the name of each user (desktop/mobile/tablet). – janoChen Nov 7 '11 at 13:01

I would split the list in to user scenarios and requests then construct user-driven-development statements (as mentioned by Rob - as an X I want to Y) based on the combinations.

A scenario might be something like "mobile user looking for a restaurant near current location", "mobile user searching from home for a restaurant for later" or "desktop user searching for a restaurant now" and a request might be "Find a restaurant close to me", "find a restaurant of a certain type" or "find a restaurant with an average review of n stars or more"

Some examples:

  1. As a mobile user looking for a restaurant to eat in now I'd like to find restaurants near me which are open right now
  2. As a desktop user looking for restaurants to eat in later I'd like to find restaurants based on an average review of 5 stars
  3. As a desktop user looking for Japanese food I'd like to find Japanese restaurants within 5miles of my location
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also a good addition to get the ball rolling is a (non-trivial) list of opportunities and threats...keeping the best out there in mind, like urbanspoon etc. maybe also a much tighter worded executive summary, where you specify what kind of food search engine this is. otherwise you have to spot this information in your lists so far. for example: this food search engine is aimed at regular foodies that regularly look to other foodies likes, combined with their own tastes and preferences. the app/website will make money by...

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