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Persona Design. Goal directed design using personas. Missing the Target. “Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn\'t work properly yet” - Douglas Adams. What is Technology for?. To help people perform tasks?. What is Technology for?. To help people achieve goals?.

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persona design

Persona Design

Goal directed design using personas

missing the target
Missing the Target
  • “Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn\'t work properly yet” - Douglas Adams
what is technology for
What is Technology for?
  • To help people perform tasks?
what is technology for1
What is Technology for?
  • To help people achieve goals?
who is technology for
Who is Technology for?
  • One of the most important questions for any project is “who is this device for?”
  • For example, how do you present information on a website to…
    • Kids
    • Teens
    • Adults
    • Elders
  • Would you use the same tone, navigation, visual style? No! And that’s just one dimension…
one size doesn t often fit all
One size doesn’t (often) fit all
  • Strategies for designing for people
    • Design a system that can be used by anyone
    • Design specialised systems for each type of audience
  • When to design “one size fits all”
    • Public access terminals - e.g. train ticket machines
  • Even then it pays to understand who you’re designing for and to design for the most challenging case
what is a persona
What is a Persona
  • A Persona is a description of a character that the site will be designed for. Acts as a focus for design
  • It is
    • An archetype, a stereotype
    • A design target
    • Specific (but not excessively so)
  • It is not
    • Politically correct
    • A marketing demographic
    • An average
what is a persona1
What is a Persona
  • A Persona includes information such as…
  • Personal profile
      • age, sex, education, job, hobbies, family, socio-economic group, etc
  • Role
      • job role for work-centred sites
      • position in household for home-centred sites (eg mother)
  • “Flavouring”
      • back-story, what sort of house they live in, how long they’ve had their job, where their parents live, when they got married, where they went on their honeymoon, etc
should be recognisable
Should be recognisable
  • A good persona generally gets…
    • “oh, I know someone just like that”
  • The designer should feel they know them well enough that they can answer questions about them
  • Once into design that’s exactly what you’ll be doing! You need to know them well enough to get into character - rather like method acting!
an example marjorie bannet
An Example: Marjorie Bannet
  • Biography
    • 78 years old
    • Just moved to Penrith from Windermere
    • Has a son in Hastings, and a daughter in Newcastle
    • Doesn’t know anyone else in Penrith yet
    • Hasn’t been driving for a few years now
    • Sometimes feels lonely
    • Has a help come in once a week
    • Would like to be able to read more
an example marjorie bannet1
An Example: Marjorie Bannet
  • Health
    • Has trouble sleeping from time to time. Will wake up in the early hours and often not get to sleep again for 2-3 hours
    • A little arthritis in her hands
    • Early cataracts, so less acute vision
    • Can move about, perhaps not quite as quickly as she could 10 years ago
    • Sometimes has a rest in the afternoon
an example marjorie bannet2
An Example: Marjorie Bannet
  • Technology
    • Has never used a computer before, and is a little nervous about them
    • Has a mobile phone, and instructions on how to use it from her son
    • Uses the microwave to prepare many of her meals
    • Uses a video recorder, but can’t be bothered setting it to record things
what s the right level of detail
What’s the right level of detail?
  • A persona should be rich enough that they are a believable person. The designer must be able to feel empathy for the persona for them to be effective.
  • They should be ‘normal’ people, not laden down with quirks, although they should have typical preferences.
  • Demographics are important, but you also need a few personal titbits. These help you see a person - not just a statistic, and develop empathy.
a persona has goals
A Persona has Goals
  • A persona has goals they want to achieve, not tasks they wish to perform
  • Tasks pre-suppose a solution, goals are invariant
  • The goals should be mostly relevant to the device being designed, although some may be more general and include lifestyle goals
an example marjorie bannet3
An Example: Marjorie Bannet
  • Goals
    • To not be lonely
    • Keep in touch with her sons and their families
    • Avoid frustrating technology experiences!
    • Not be reliant one anyone
how do personas help
How do Personas help?
  • A persona acts as a focus for the design
  • As design options are created each one can be very rapidly tested by asking “would Marge understand this?”
  • The personas goals direct the design towards an solution which genuinely solves the correct problem
  • The next step is creating design, starting with Scenarios
different types of personas
Different types of Personas
  • There are several types of personas
    • Primary - this is the person you’re mostly designing for. If you only have one persona they will be primary
    • Secondary - not the main target, but they should be satisfied if it can be done without upsetting the primary
    • Negative - this is someone who are explicitly NOT designing for - useful to avoid “but what about Fred the freak who wants…” arguments
    • Bit Part - not always a full persona, but someone who interacts with a persona in a significant way
scenarios in design
Scenarios in Design
  • A scenario is a walk through a design, from the point of view of a specific persona.
  • They can be done at various levels of detail.
  • Initially a scenario will be very vague, but as the design is filled in and refined it will become more and more specific.
  • It’s important that vague scenarios be completed before detail is added, since this forces Breadth First design.
high level scenario
High Level Scenario
  • Marjorie is lonely, and would like to have a chat with someone.
  • She finds out (or knows) who is about that she can chat with
  • She invites Robert round for a chat, and banishes the loneliness.
  • Goal Directed
  • No mention of the implementation
  • A solution is being defined
medium level scenario
Medium Level Scenario
  • Marjorie is lonely…
  • She looks at her device, and it shows her who is online. She sees that Robert is available, so she invites him for an online chat.
  • Robert accepts her invitation, and they start chatting.
  • Still Goal Directed
  • The implementation is implied
  • A solution has been defined
low level scenario
Low Level Scenario
  • Marjorie is lonely…
  • She looks at her tablet PC, which is switched on and sitting on her coffee table, and she can see in the address book that Robert, one of her contacts, is online, and has set his status message as “Want to chat?”.
  • Marjorie select Robert, and then selects the chat program, and taps the start button. She then writes a short invitation to Robert “Hello Robert”…
compared to htas
Compared to HTAs
  • HTAs are an analysis of a task that already exists. They include multiple levels of detail.
  • Scenarios start with almost no detail.
  • The scenario suggests new details that need to be filled in, which provides a design problem to be solved.
  • The design solution then feeds into the next iteration of the scenario. At each level multiple solutions can be tested.
testing design solutions
Testing Design Solutions
  • As the scenario and design evolve together Personas can be walked through the emerging design.
    • Would the persona understand the design?
    • Does the design help the persona achieve their goals?
    • Are there parts of the design (excise) which are not moving the persona towards their goals which might be removed?
  • These questions should be answered by the designer, based on their empathy with the persona
secondary personas
Secondary Personas
  • Secondary Personas will have their own scenarios, for those extra requirements they have.
  • They should be able to achieve their goals without distorting the design for the Primary.
  • If it’s not possible to accommodate both the Primary and the Secondaries reasonably, then a better option might be a second design.
how to create a persona
How to create a Persona
  • Personas should be created by the designers who will ultimately use them.
  • The designer should interview, target users of the system to be designed.
  • If designing a movie database (as we are going to) then attitudes to movies should be examined.
movie database user persona
Movie database user Persona
  • What are people’s goals when looking for movie information? Why are people interested in movie information?
  • What sorts of information are important to achieve those goals?
  • When are you interested in getting movie information?
  • Do you do this on your own, or with others?
collating into personas
Collating into Personas
  • After interviewing a number of people you’ll spot similar ideas coming up repeatedly.
  • You should start to identify a few different types of people.
  • e.g. With movies, some people might just turn up at the cinema and see what’s on. Others might see a movie and plan to go to it when it comes out.
  • Each of these different types is probably a separate persona.
design for a single persona
Design for a single Persona
  • Now you need to pick a Primary Persona.
  • Just One!
  • You might also want to pick a couple of secondary personas (but not too many)
  • If there’s someone who you know you’re not interested in supporting, they are a negative persona.
the elastic user
The elastic user
  • Without personas talk tends to drift towards the “user”.
  • Then you get questions like
    • “what if the user wanted to do …”
  • If several people are asking these questions they are probably all imagining different users.
  • The resulting design would be a hotchpotch, and probably not make much sense to anyone. Personas ensure everyone is aiming at the same user.
self referential design
Self-Referential Design

Designers know what they like.

Left unchecked it’s very easy to end up designing for yourself.

Designers are not representative of the intended audience however. Engineers even more so!

By constantly referring back to Personas designers can ensure that they are not just designing something they like.

Graphic/Visual design also suffers from this problem.

design for one works for many
Design for one, works for many
  • Because personas are archetypes there are many people out there who will be close enough to a Persona that they will be happy with the design.
  • Surprisingly designs generated using a Persona methodology often have wider appeal that designs which try to cater to all.
  • So keep focussed. Once you’ve selected a Persona stick to it, don’t allow yourself to switch to a different one mid way through.
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