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Design for Just One Person? Investigation of personas in web design Alistair Edwards http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~alistair
Acknowledgement A project by Aiwen Tau, MSc HCIT student 2011-12
Personas Invented by Alan Cooper • The Inmates are Running the Asylum More in UCDE – and WEBD
Uses of personas Should be typical of intended users • May require some research Enable designers to talk in concrete terms • e.g. • ‘That will be OK for Matthew when he’s at work, but at home he uses a dial-up connection, which will be slow. Maybe we need a stripped-down option for low bandwidth?’
Effectiveness of personas A attractive idea But how do we know they really work? Different users might have different perceptions of a persona • and hence effectively be designing for different people
Aiwen’s experiment Create a website with 5 different personas For each persona show 4 different webpage designs Ask participants which page they think the persona would prefer
Emily’s sites C B D A
Results Do people consistently match personas to websites?
Emily X2= 15.4737, df = 3, p = 0.001453
Kay X2= 16.974, df = 3, p = 0.0007155
Jin X2= 46.6316, df = 3, p = 4.163e-10
Thomas X2= 23.4737, df = 3, p = 3.217e-05
Jessica X2= 16.4211, df = 3, p = 0.0009294
Results Do people consistently match personas to websites? Yes!
Influence of pictures How important is the portrait? Might people be unduly influenced by the picture • Matching to their impression of the picture, not the description? No guidance in the literature
Influence of pictures Thomas disability Jessica mood Emily age Kay gender Jin race Participants saw one of two pictures for each persona Each one manipulated one aspect of the persona’s appearance
Kay Gender (text was also manipulated)
Results Does the picture unduly influence people’s choices?
Results Does the picture unduly influence people’s choices? No • none of the differences was significant • Nearest to significance was Jin (race)
Jin X2=7.6254, df=3, p=0.05442
Results 1. Participants consistently match personas to websites • Significant differences 2. They are not unduly influenced by the picture • No significant differences
Participants 76 volunteers recruited by personal contacts and via the web • But personas are used by designers • Perhaps web designers are different?
Web developers 50 web developers were recruited to repeat the experiments • Thanks to Dave Swallow
Results Distribution of matching personas to websites by web developers was not different to that of ‘ordinary people’
Discussion Scope is limited • Matching personas to images of websites We were lucky • Sites could not be targeted at either picture Some of the original participants might be web developers • Investigating them was an afterthought • Did not expect to recruit so many
Discussion There was an element of deception in the experiment • Participants will be sent a copy of the report in which this will be revealled
Conclusions 1. People consistently match personas to websites 2. They are not unduly influenced by the picture 3. These results hold equally well for web developers and non-experts