Beyond TaskBased Testing:
Interviews &
Personas
October 29, 2013
Darlene Fichter
Jeff Wisniewski
Road Map
 What’s

a persona?
 Benefits of personas
 Isn’t task based testing enough? Do I
need to do personas too?
 Ho...
Caveats
 Design

/= visual design
 Design = product design as a whole from
features, colors, interactions, content,
orga...
Personas
 Personas

are “stand ins” or hypothetical
archetypes created to represent the
primary user segments for your we...
Personas
 Although

personas are imaginary they are
derived from user research
 Each persona is given a name and
persona...











second year graduate student in
Biological Enngineering
currently splits her time between class
work, tim...










if she can avoid going to the
library, she will
at home she always connects
through remote access to get
ac...
Customer Segments to
Personas
 Originated

in the 1930’s for marketing
brands started using fictional characters
to repre...
Benefits of Personas
#1 “User” Centered Design
 Way

to have users attend all your design
meeting that representative of the major
user types
...
#2. Support Evidence Based
Decision Making
 Way

to harness the user research data to
inform web site development
 Easie...
#3 Where to put design effort
 Personas

spell out what the site needs to

do
 Persona goals and task provide a focus
-A...
#4. Communicate to
Stakeholders in a Language
Understood by Everyone
 Easy

and fun way to communicate design
decisions
...
#4 Build Consensus and
Commitment to the Design
 Communicate

a common direction
 Reduce the need for extremely detailed...
Task Based Testing
 How

personas work with task based
testing
Task Based Testing
 Extremely

useful
 Evidence of how users actually use your
site

Are you getting the most value out ...
Task Based Testing
 Even




on a shoestring, still resource intensive

Usability testing takes time
Only do one test o...
Small Studies & Representative
Sample
A

small “shoestring” usability study usually
can only pull in a few participants b...
The Tasks
Where do the tasks come from?
 Some are easy. i.e. frequently used on
the web site now. We know that our 30
stu...
Tasks
Some Tasks are Tar Pits


Find an article on ....
 Do

we know based on user research (or just
on our personal hun...
Personas
Reality check that helps you create better
tasks
How to Create Personas
Research!




Environmental scan
Interviews
Ethnographic research
Environmental scanning
 Identify

true peers
 Literature review
 Web search
 Provides a framework
Ethnographic research
 Gorillas

in the Mist
 Time consuming
 Expensive
 Highly useful!
Interviews
 Useful

for creating from scratch and for
local validation of “borrowed”
Finding subjects
 Leverage

your networks
 General advertising not useful
Logistics
 Voice

recorder of smartphone app
 Transcription
 Analysis
What to ask and how to ask it
 What



you’re doing and why

You’re helping us build a better website
Be candid

 Gene...
What to ask and how to ask it
 If

you need to:

Find books to take on vacation
 Write a paper
…Where’s the first place ...
What to ask and how to ask it









How often do you go to the library?
How often do you go to the library websit...
Now what?

Interview

Create

Refine
How many personas ?
 Primary

constituencies
 5-7 generally recommended
How to use the personas
 In

the room
 Frame discussions
Your Next Team Meeting
What does Leonard think?

http://static.tvguide.com/MediaBin/Galleries/Shows/A_F/Bi_Bp/Big_Bang_The...
Question?
Thanks!
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  • A more specific definition from the Foviance/Seren guide to Segmented personas is:“A persona is a fictional character that communicates the primary characteristics of a group of users, identified and selected as a key target through use of segmentation data, across the company in a usable and effective manner.
  • "About Face 2.0" (p. 55), thestrengths of personas as a design tool 
  • Beyond Task Based Testing: Interviews and Personas

    1. 1. Beyond TaskBased Testing: Interviews & Personas October 29, 2013 Darlene Fichter Jeff Wisniewski
    2. 2. Road Map  What’s a persona?  Benefits of personas  Isn’t task based testing enough? Do I need to do personas too?  How to create personas  Interviewing and other methods  How to use personas
    3. 3. Caveats  Design /= visual design  Design = product design as a whole from features, colors, interactions, content, organization, etc.
    4. 4. Personas  Personas are “stand ins” or hypothetical archetypes created to represent the primary user segments for your web site  Each persona represents a key user type that shares demographic characteristics, needs, behaviours, and environment
    5. 5. Personas  Although personas are imaginary they are derived from user research  Each persona is given a name and personal details to make them more realistic
    6. 6.       second year graduate student in Biological Enngineering currently splits her time between class work, time in the lab, and studying from home since much of her work is either course driven or in the lab, she does not consider herself a particularly heavy library user tends to rely on lectures rather than library resources uses company websites quite frequently for information on the lab products she uses and uses professional association sites for recent papers and information on developments in her field uses the popular search engines initially to get a sense of what types of materials are out there then moves to Web of Science and Compendex for access to journal articles Amy (SooJin)
    7. 7.      if she can avoid going to the library, she will at home she always connects through remote access to get access to full articles through the databases for which the library has subscription interested in doing exhaustive searches for journal articles on her dissertation topic no one has shown her how to use the full breadth of the resources and functionality of e-Journal on the library web site; she has a sense there are more resources and tools than she knows about uses ILL often to gain access to articles that she cannot access through Pitt subscriptions
    8. 8. Customer Segments to Personas  Originated in the 1930’s for marketing brands started using fictional characters to represent a customer segment  Alan Cooper, a software developer, coined a related term and similar practice: personas.  His book The Inmates are Running the Asylum popularized the use of personas and designing for “archetypal users”.
    9. 9. Benefits of Personas
    10. 10. #1 “User” Centered Design  Way to have users attend all your design meeting that representative of the major user types  Each persona has the weight  Personas are based on and embody what we know about our library’s web site users Personas keeping it about the user
    11. 11. #2. Support Evidence Based Decision Making  Way to harness the user research data to inform web site development  Easier to remember a persona than pages of facts and figures: path data, survey results, interview summaries etc.  Share abstract data in a compelling and memorable way Personas encapsulate evidence
    12. 12. #3 Where to put design effort  Personas spell out what the site needs to do  Persona goals and task provide a focus -Avoid scope creep - Elastic band users Personas provide focus
    13. 13. #4. Communicate to Stakeholders in a Language Understood by Everyone  Easy and fun way to communicate design decisions  Keeps the focus on the user  Avoid “geek” speak Personas speak to everyone
    14. 14. #4 Build Consensus and Commitment to the Design  Communicate a common direction  Reduce the need for extremely detailed specifications. Nuances of behaviours and preferences are captured in the persona and narratives Personas build shared vision
    15. 15. Task Based Testing  How personas work with task based testing
    16. 16. Task Based Testing  Extremely useful  Evidence of how users actually use your site Are you getting the most value out of your task based testing investment?
    17. 17. Task Based Testing  Even   on a shoestring, still resource intensive Usability testing takes time Only do one test or maybe 2 or 3 iterations due to resource constraints  Most designs need many iterations Using personas allows you to raise the base level of the design that you use for task based testing
    18. 18. Small Studies & Representative Sample A small “shoestring” usability study usually can only pull in a few participants broadly categorized by age, gender, year in school if an educational setting, department/profession in a firm etc.  But are these the broad categories that help us zero in on primary user types?
    19. 19. The Tasks Where do the tasks come from?  Some are easy. i.e. frequently used on the web site now. We know that our 30 study rooms are booked around the clock from the online form.  What about designing bookable study room form on the mobile site? Is there interest? How/when/where/who would use it and what’s the best design?
    20. 20. Tasks Some Tasks are Tar Pits  Find an article on ....  Do we know based on user research (or just on our personal hunches) the typical way this questions is approached by primary user types? What happens when they have too large a search result? Null result?  Find out how to borrow a laptop from the Library.  Will they browse or search?  If search has too many results, what will they try next?
    21. 21. Personas Reality check that helps you create better tasks
    22. 22. How to Create Personas Research!    Environmental scan Interviews Ethnographic research
    23. 23. Environmental scanning  Identify true peers  Literature review  Web search  Provides a framework
    24. 24. Ethnographic research  Gorillas in the Mist  Time consuming  Expensive  Highly useful!
    25. 25. Interviews  Useful for creating from scratch and for local validation of “borrowed”
    26. 26. Finding subjects  Leverage your networks  General advertising not useful
    27. 27. Logistics  Voice recorder of smartphone app  Transcription  Analysis
    28. 28. What to ask and how to ask it  What   you’re doing and why You’re helping us build a better website Be candid  General   computer usage habits When you start your browser where’s are the first places you go? Favorite sites, and why?
    29. 29. What to ask and how to ask it  If you need to: Find books to take on vacation  Write a paper …Where’s the first place you’d go? 
    30. 30. What to ask and how to ask it       How often do you go to the library? How often do you go to the library website? When do you go to the library website? What do you do when you’re there? (Take them to site) What immediately draws your attention? What information did you look for but not find? Is there something you looked for on the homepage but didn’t find?
    31. 31. Now what? Interview Create Refine
    32. 32. How many personas ?  Primary constituencies  5-7 generally recommended
    33. 33. How to use the personas  In the room  Frame discussions
    34. 34. Your Next Team Meeting What does Leonard think? http://static.tvguide.com/MediaBin/Galleries/Shows/A_F/Bi_Bp/Big_Bang_Theory/season4/big-bangtheory298.jpg
    35. 35. Question?
    36. 36. Thanks!
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