Personas and how to improve the quality of business solutions
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Personas and how to improve the quality of business solutions

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These are the slides for a presentation I gave around Personas and their use in creating high quality solutions. ...

These are the slides for a presentation I gave around Personas and their use in creating high quality solutions.

The text that went with the presention is available here:

http://blobfisk.com/personas-and-how-to-increase-the-quality-of-solutions/

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  • <br /> <br />
  • My impression of life before Personas! <br /> Really came into use after Cooper's \"Inmates are Running the Asylum\" in 1999 <br /> Software must have been pretty bad before that! <br /> Now coming more and more into widespread use <br /> Still fear at cost and time to create <br /> BUT, that cost and time has far more benefits than just the Persona! <br />
  • Not going into too much detail <br /> Persona is a representation of our target user. <br /> Persona should capture: <br /> <br /> Very brief biographical information <br /> <br /> <br /> Habits <br /> <br /> <br /> Skill levels <br /> <br /> <br /> Environmental Factors (e.g. uses computer at work only, at home with baby) <br /> <br /> <br /> Tasks - a.k.a Work or activity flows (important ones from here) <br /> <br /> <br /> Frustrations <br /> <br /> <br /> GOALS <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Personas are not just for UX, so they need to be concise and accessible. <br /> Uses throughout the requirements, design, development and delivery phases of a solution <br />
  • Can be looked upon with suspicion in the business community <br /> Too emotional - not enough logic! <br /> Empathy allows us to identify with the needs of our users <br /> Empathy allows us to get to know who we are developing a solution for <br /> It brings us close to our users and understand their goals <br /> Empathy helps us to build usable and accessible solutions <br /> That is empathy with our end users, but we also need to have empathy with our clients <br /> Personas allows us to understand the needs of the end user and the client <br />
  • Understanding the needs of our end users important and generally accepted <br /> It is equally important for us to understand the needs and motivation of the client <br /> This allows us to to speak to them in a language they understand <br /> Speak to them with authority about their business and needs <br /> Gives them confidence that we understand their business needs and what they want from the solution <br /> It builds trust <br /> Important to be embedded in with a client <br /> Understanding, and its role in Personas, allows us to interact more efficiently with our clients. <br />
  • <br /> Good usability is what we all strive for <br /> <br /> <br /> By empathising and understand we put ourselves in the shoes of the user and take the first steps towards a solution that is usable <br /> <br /> <br /> Usability is good for business! <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Jared Spool and the $300million button <br /> <br /> <br /> Removing the registration at the beginning of the checkout process <br /> <br /> <br /> Purchases went up by 45% <br /> <br /> <br /> Lower barrier to entry <br /> <br /> <br /> Emotional bias to give details at end of process <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> A usable solution is likely to be a successful solution - Personas are an integral part of getting the usability right and getting the solution right.[ PAUSE - NEW THEME ] <br />
  • <br /> Lots of different methods to build a Persona <br /> <br /> <br /> Quantitative - all about numbers and data <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Surveys <br /> <br /> <br /> Web Analytics <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Qualitative - all about the individuals <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> User Interviews <br /> <br /> <br /> Contextual Enquiry <br /> <br /> <br /> Focus Groups <br /> <br /> <br /> Diary Studies <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> These methods allow us to understand the user, but also: <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> the problem space <br /> <br /> <br /> opportunities for growth <br /> <br /> <br /> identify competitors <br /> <br /> <br /> look at more general user trends <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The research that we do for Personas should not just be used for the Persona creation - it also can be very valuable business information. <br />
  • Personas play an integral part when it comes to designing the solution <br /> We know know who we are designing for and why <br /> They allow us to make the right design decision <br /> They keep the “You out of User” <br /> Designing the right thing instead of the cool thing <br /> Personas and understanding the users’ goals allow us to make better design decisions <br />
  • <br /> Understanding the goals of our users mean that we build the most appropriate solution <br /> <br /> <br /> Allow us to validate if that’s what the user really wants and needs, rather than what someone else (like the client) thinks they need <br /> <br /> <br /> I was working on a rebuild of a CRM / claim system about 7/8 years ago <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Old mainframe system - Users on green screen terminals <br /> Moving to a web based solution <br /> Client wanted pretty, branded solution <br /> User Interviews/Contextual enquiry revealed driver for users <br /> Process as many claims as possible - quick and responsive <br /> Also a need for the business - quick claim processing <br /> End solution was not pretty or branded, but met the users needs and the clients needs! <br />
  • Good to have a stakeholder persona <br /> Ensure that the business needs are met <br /> Allows us to understand the business <br /> Also ensures that any backend systems are easy to use <br /> Personas are not just about the end user, about the stakeholder and the business in general too <br />
  • Personas play an important part in the development stage too <br /> Especially in an Agile environment <br /> RITE: Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation <br /> By knowing who are users are we can quickly find people that match out Persona to test <br /> Agile is all about user stories, and our Personas represent our users[ PAUSE - NEW THEME ] <br />
  • <br /> I think it’s important to always ask who are are building this solution for and why <br /> <br /> <br /> During the development phase, which user are we referring to in this user story <br /> <br /> <br /> What’s the benefit to the user and to the business of doing this piece of work <br /> <br /> <br /> Personas should be everywhere, at all meetings and especially at iteration planning meetings. <br /> <br /> <br /> How? <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Posters <br /> <br /> <br /> Cardboard Cut Outs <br /> <br /> <br /> Mood Boards <br /> <br /> <br /> Top Trump Cards <br /> <br /> <br /> Personas ensure that we focus on building the right thing for the right people <br />
  • Personas can be really useful during brainstorming meetings <br /> Using the presentation techniques I mentioned <br /> But also Role Playing <br /> When trying to come up with a solution, someone plays the Persona and answers questions as the Persona <br /> Good way to make sure we focus on the user and building the right thing. <br />
  • Give one of your Personas a disability - even a minor one <br /> Keeps accessibility in the forefront <br /> Also ties in to Progressive Enhancement and an agile process (build and iterate) <br /> Good accessibility helps with SEO <br /> Personas bring value at every stage of the process.[ PAUSE - NEW THEME ] <br />
  • Personas allow us to determine the effectiveness of our approach and design of a solution <br /> Allow us to do it early in the development phase <br /> Important for us <br /> Also important for the client <br /> And for use to prove that we’re doing the right thing to the client <br />
  • Test Early and Test Often! <br /> Guerilla Testing <br /> Works well with Agile <br /> Low cost and high value <br /> Quick (5 people is enough) <br /> Personas allow us to identify the right people to use to test <br />
  • By conducting regular testing we catch issues early and address them quickly <br /> No snowballing and trying to patch things at a late stage <br /> This also helps to underpin the Agile way of iterating over things (which is often overlooked!) <br />
  • Personas play a really powerful role in communication <br /> Both externally with clients <br /> And internally within the project team <br />
  • Humans are storytellers and storylisteners. We are more receptive to a story <br /> Personas tell a story, or at least allow us to <br /> By telling a story, based on a Persona, we can more easily communicate our ideas and sell our vision <br />
  • <br /> This helps us to build consensus <br /> <br /> <br /> By telling a story around a design or feature we make it easier to get consensus <br /> <br /> <br /> “Joe gets home from work and like to catch up on the news. He doesn’t have much time before he goes back out to meet his friends...” <br /> <br /> <br /> By couching an approach like this we are not imposing our opinion, it’s the best way for the user. <br /> <br /> <br /> You encounter 3 types of people that you need to convince, and Personas can really help with each one. <br /> <br /> <br /> The CEO: <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> All about the vision and the big idea, generally Sales minded <br /> <br /> <br /> Best persuaded using an anecdote - a story <br /> <br /> <br /> The CFO: <br /> <br /> Not interested in a story, or really the bottom number - Wants to know the process, the formula used to reach a decision <br /> <br /> <br /> The research and methodology that we use to build Personas and gather requirements is invaluable here <br /> <br /> <br /> The Developer: <br /> Wants hard facts and logic - Our Quantitative data helps here <br /> As does the Qualitative and A/B testing... 4 out of 5 users we tested said they preferred this way <br />
  • Because we are not presenting “our idea”, which may not agree with the clients idea, but the best way to please the user <br /> We can build consensus <br /> But this also helps us with getting commitment <br /> The Neutral person <br /> Client doesn’t feel that we didn’t listen to them and instead pushed our idea - it was all about the user <br /> Less chance of hitting a “I’d like to revisit my idea...” moment <br /> Again, Personas “Keep the You out of User” <br />
  • So, Personas are not just an instrument that we use at the beginning of the solution building process <br /> They are something that we can use to great effect from the start of the finish <br /> They help us to DETERMINE what it is the solution should be, by giving us empathy and understanding. <br /> They help us to COMMUNICATE our vision of the solution and help us to build consensus and commitment <br /> They allow us to MEASURE our ideas and the effectiveness of our designs <br /> And they can CONTRIBUTE to the work of different groups, be it development, marketing and sales <br /> All this end to end value by providing us with an insight into our users. <br />
  • Thanks for listening. <br /> I’m happy to share this presentation and my notes with anyone who would like a copy. <br /> Would anyone like to ask a question or kick off a discussion on a point you agreed or disagreed with? <br />

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