US Use Context Elements

There are three aspects we need to consider when reviewing a use context. How the design addresses these elements will directly affect the user experience of the product or service.


The physical environment, the physical ability of the user, and the physical manifestation/form of the product or service.

  • Is the user indoors, outdoors, underwater or in outer space?
  • Is the user standing up, sitting down, or crouching?
  • Is the user wearing a tailored or environmental hazard suit?
  • Is the user shuffling pieces of paper, using a tablet or operating in a VR rig?
  • Does the user have some extraordinary ability or disability?


The task(s) the user wishes to accomplish by engaging with the product or service.

  • Is the user at the end of a downstream process – such as consuming content?
  • Is the user submitting or depositing information or materials?
  • Is the user actively interacting with the product/service to dynamically create something?
  • Is the task mission-critical, dangerous or frivolous?
  • How does the task relate/integrate with other systems and processes?


The mood (or emotional state) of the user when approaching the product or service.

  • What is motivating the user to engage with this product or service?
  • Is the user feeling calm, rushed, or threatened?
  • Is this an unexpected emergency or dangerous work where lives are at stake?
  • Is this quiet purposeful work carried out in a quiet calm office?
  • What is the ideal emotional state for the user to be in – vigilant or nonchalant?