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Designing with Only Four People in Mind? - A Case Study of Using Personas to Redesign a Work-Integrated Learning Support System
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Designing with Only Four People in Mind? - A Case Study of Using Personas to Redesign a Work-Integrated Learning Support System

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INTERACT2009 Conference paper http://www.interact2009.org

INTERACT2009 Conference paper http://www.interact2009.org

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  • 1. Designing with Only Four People in Mind? A Case Study of Using Personas to Redesign a Work-Integrated Learning Support System Amir Dotan, Neil Maiden, Valentina Lichtner and Lola Germanovich Centre for HCI Design
  • 2. Centre for HCI Design The Paper 1. A case study illustrating how personas were used in a real world situation to engage project members with user information during a 2-day workshop to redesign APOSDLE (3rd Prototype) 2. The strengths and weaknesses of personas based on our experience 3. The strengths and weaknesses of actively involving stakeholders in creating and using personas
  • 3. Centre for HCI Design The APOSDLE project www.aposdle.tugraz.at • Advanced Process- Oriented Self- Directed Learning Environment • A 48 months R&D integrated project involving 12 organisations from five countries (contract no. IST-027023) • Aims to support work-integrated learning by providing people working in knowledge- intensive industries the infrastructure needed to acquire, understand and communicate knowledge
  • 4. Resources Refine resources here Expand results APOSDLE Prototype 2 Resources Learning by doing: Typewriter Requirement Analysis 1 Evaluation Document X Learning Events How to evaluate Example of Analysis C++ in 4 Days Day 1 Day 2 Personalised (competencies) and contextual Knowledgeable Persons (activities) Refine experts here learning support Persons Expand results Robin Hood Alka Selza Steve Martin Kartoffelpü Reh
  • 5. Centre for HCI Design Why Did We Turn to Personas? 1. A work-based formative evaluation of the 2nd prototype highlighted various usability problems such as: • Ambiguous terminology (e.g. Learning Events, Knowledge Artefacts, Learning Goals, Context) • Unclear interaction and processes - (Where to begin? What to do? Where is ‘search’?) • Individual differences (e.g. The Learning Events did not always fit the users’ needs and objectives)
  • 6. Centre for HCI Design Why Did We Turn to Personas? 2. International Multi-Disciplinary Consortium 3. Varying views, perceptions and understanding of APOSDLE’s target audience – Lack of common language to describe end users
  • 7. Centre for HCI Design Why Did We Turn to Personas? 4. Information about end users was provided in the early requirements stage by stakeholders representing future clients and empirical studies, but was not visible throughout the project 5. Referring to users as Knowledge Workers, Knowledge Seekers and Knowledgeable People did not provide essential rich information about the target audience and its work environment
  • 8. Centre for HCI Design Main Criticism of Personas (Chapman and Milham, 2006) • Methodological weaknesses - Personas are difficult or impossible to verify – Are they realistic representation? • Practical limitations - It is not always clear how the personas are reconciled with other data and who is responsible for interpreting them
  • 9. Centre for HCI Design Creating the APOSDLE Personas • Empirical data (interviews, observations) • Stakeholders representing APOSDLE’s target clients contributing an initial set of personas describing their employees based on a template • Reason 1 - Validation – Getting the right personas • Reason 2 - Time constraints
  • 10. Centre for HCI Design The Four APOSDLE Personas Rigid work process Flexible work process Eva – consultant Senior employee Pierre - mechanical engineer Junior employee Paul – Intern (Engineering) Lisa – Project assistant
  • 11. Centre for HCI Design
  • 12. Centre for HCI Design Redesigning APOSDLE with Personas • 2 Day workshop • 4 Personas • 21 participants (None have ever used personas) Stage 1 – Familiarisation session – Get to know the personas Stage 2 – Review prototype 2 from the personas’ point of view and consider redesign solutions if necessary
  • 13. Persona Familiarisation Session General comments about each persona Paul (the intern) is probably question driven and requires detailed knowledge. He carries out a single task at a time Pierre (the senior engineer) is probably more set in his ways . He deals with processes, simulations and calculations
  • 14. Centre for HCI Design Persona Familiarisation Session • How do the personas perceive APOSDLE Prototype 2? • “What aspects of APOSDLE is Pierre more likely to appreciate?” • “What aspects of APOSDLE is Pierre less likely to appreciate?”
  • 15. Centre for HCI Design Persona Familiarisation Session • Participants extrapolate new Information about the personas and APOSDLE Eva would appreciate being able to locate experts using APOSDLE Eva will not use APOSDLE’s process view. Her work is less about ‘ticking boxes’
  • 16. Redesigning APOSDLE To better suit the needs of the personas “Interesting idea. Who do you imagine using this feature? Eva? Paul? Lisa? Pierre?”
  • 17. Addressing Practical Limitations of Personas Stakeholders help interpret and use the personas “Is this a feature a 48 year old senior engineer in your company might use?”
  • 18. Centre for HCI Design Rapid Persona-Driven Prototyping During the Workshop Eva and Pierre require quick and unstructured access to resources Viewing the domain elements could help Paul get an overview and explore the domain
  • 19. Rapid Persona-Driven Prototyping During the Workshop “Will Paul like this kind of thing? I wonder if people will go through this process. I can imagine Paul simply pressing ‘ask’ and bypassing the form.”
  • 20. Centre for HCI Design Design Outcomes • Learning Events in Prototype 2 could alienate Pierre and Eva Participant 5 (Programmer): The Learning Events were created to facilitate learning. I think we should reflect on the four personas and see if they have need for this information. We are discussing low-level details and terminology before addressing the users’ real goals.
  • 21. Centre for HCI Design Optional explicit learning support for Paul in Prototype 3 Quick access to content for Eva and Pierre
  • 22. Option to explore domain topics for all four personas More obvious search option for Pierre and Eva
  • 23. Design Outcome Resources Refine resources here Expand results Resources Learning by doing: Typewriter Requirement Analysis 1 Evaluation Document X Learning Events How to evaluate Example of Analysis C++ in 4 Days Day 1 Day 2 Knowledgeable Persons Refine experts here Expand results Persons Robin Hood Alka Selza Steve Martin Kartoffelpü Reh Prototype 2 - Before Personas Prototype 3 - After Personas
  • 24. Centre for HCI Design Strengths and Weaknesses of Personas based on our experience Strengths Weaknesses •Focused the discussions on real people •Short life span – Had a strong impact and real working environments during the first few hours of the discussions •Helped project members from different and then their impact diminished professional background to ‘get to know’ •This could be attributed to the APOSDLE’s target audience stakeholders’ presence •Ensured redesign ideas targeted end •Having to constantly ask participants to users and did not merely reflect personal link their ideas to a persona became preferences tedious and potentially annoying
  • 25. Centre for HCI Design Stakeholders’ Involvement Positives Negatives •Helped produce more valid •Despite a template and instructions, personas that captured the work the style of the initial personas routine and goals of real people provided varied •Helped interpret the personas and •After a while, participants seemed resolve disagreements - The to abandon the personas in favour of personas had clear owners who asking the stakeholders directly if an knew the people they represented idea could work or not
  • 26. Centre for HCI Design Conclusions • There are obvious pros and cons to the persona approach • In our case we conclude the strengths outweighed the weaknesses • We found personas to be an effective way to encapsulate and communicate user information so it served as a reminder during discussions
  • 27. Centre for HCI Design Conclusions • By combining initial persona descriptions generated by stakeholders with our empirical data we feel we were able to address to some degree methodological weaknesses and practical limitation of the tool expressed in the literature