This post is required under User eXperience Design, Principles and Concepts; KSU course IAKM 60120. It’s intent is to write a short post about what stuck me most in the previous week.
In user experience design, a persona is a description of the characteristics that define different user types of your products. While typically fictional and based on an amalgamation of many users, nevertheless, the idea is to capture the needs, hopes and limitations of real people…because systems are designed for real people.
While I have always believed in working with individuals to understand the pressures they work for and to define what they require, I had never thought of thinking of documenting the project from their point of view.
This week included a small workflow project and in starting it, I first designed a simple persona. To be honest, I was amazed and thrilled by how the step aided in focusing on how the project should be worked.
But what is more, I am now confidant that as much as it helped me as a designer, I think its benefits will be even greater for the project team. On a major project I work with a team comprised of management, user representatives, business managers and IT. Obviously, in such a setting, contention is inevitable because people really do care about the results they deliver and each person is there because of their own special expertise and the interests they represent. Giving the team a persona to work with will, I am certain, give them a specific, consistent understanding of the user to share, thus providing a mechanism to defuse contention and see how other departments can have a different view of the same role and the processes they perform.
Personas are an excellent new tool in the design process!
The photo is of a hot air balloon I saw while out biking recently. Photograph and comments ©John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.