In one of his blog entries Cooper talks about how he used to roam around the golf course near his work play acting that he was this person and trying to figure out what they might want to do with the system. -http://www.cooper.com/journal/2003/08/the_origin_of_personas.html
Personas in Product Design By Lauren Martin
Outline What is a persona? Where did they come from? The conversation around personas. How to create personas. Case Studies
Persona: “Personas are a set of representative profiles for a customer base. As a design tool, they are a powerful way to communicate behaviors, goals, wants, needs, and frustrations.” “Effective personas are driven by research data and focus on how a particular profile uses a particular application in a given context. The creation of different profiles is based on […] many customers.” -Todd Zaki Warfel zakiwarfel.com “Personas are not real people, but they are based on the behaviors and motivations of real people” -Cooper, About Face 3: The essentials of Interaction Design
History of Personas Identified in a chapter of Alan Cooper’s The inmates Are Running the Asylum in 1998. Stemmed from the way Cooper designed programs by focusing on one person he personally knew, who would be using the application.
What are they for? Cooper used personas to provide a focus for the product. Instead of saying… The conversation becomes… “we could build this product to do anything” “what would this person need it to do?”
How were they made? Cooper created these personas by interviewing potential users. While many were very different, patterns began to emerge putting the users into distinct group sets. Theses groups were defined by: Goals Tasks Skill levels Alan Cooper Source: http://www.cooper.com/journal/2003/08/the_origin_of_personas.html
What did he do with them? Using the information gathered from interviews, he created personas for each distinct user group set. These embodied the goals, wants and needs of the people in the group. Personas were shared with others in the company to help with decision making and scope.
Example When first talking to a company Cooper was consulting for, the direction was that this product “could do anything” After interviewing potential users he found there were three distinct groups. These groups were named and given a face and provided direction for the analysts.
Example Cont. Chuck: An analyst who uses ready-built templates and reports. Cynthia: An analyst who uses ready built templates & writes her own which she shares. Rob: A manager who can edit and optimize Cynthia’s templates.
Negative Reviews They are a waste of time because are fake. They are not as credible as real customer profiles, names, titles & companies. Personas don’t talk back. Personas can’t answer questions. They are silly, unrealistic and based on sales goals.
Counter Argument They are a waste of time because are fake. Personas should be based on data, known customers and interviews, only a name and image should be fake, but realistic, to provide a face for the group. They are not as credible as real customer profiles, names, titles & companies. Using a single real customer(s) pigeon holes you to one type of person, it also creates risk that you will build for that “one” vocal customer instead of a group of people with similar goals and needs.
Counter Argument Cont. Personas don’t talk back. Personas can’t answer questions. It’s important to know the users your personas are based on. You can contact them, and ask questions. Personas are only one way to share user opinions, wants and needs and provide an archetype for groups of users. They should not be a substitution for getting to know your users or performing other means of usability research.
Counter Argument Cont. They are silly, unrealistic and based on sales goals. Unfortunately this bias comes from “misguided poorly constructed personas”. Analysis is missing in regards to “real user data, observations and interviews”.
Personas – A Literature Review by Andrea Richeson
Pro’s to Personas “Personas help a team avoid designing for themselves.” “They facilitate an ongoing dialog between the development team and the users.” -Personas – A Literature Review by Andrea Richeson “A persona is a user archetype you can use to help guide decisions about product features, navigation, interactions, and even visual design.” -Perfecting Your Personas by Kim Goodwin
10 Rules to Remember Keep them simple and memorable They should be separated by goals, not behavior Focus on satisfying the widest audience, not the sales audience. Add a little personal detail, but not so much they appear phony. Focus on 3 or 4 goals per persona
10 Rules to Remember Cont. Create personas in context of a specific project Personas represent behavior patterns not job descriptions. Keep your persona set small. Remember that there is not a direct correlation between market segments and personas. Focus on goals, not tasks. Task are things we do to achieve goals. -Personas – A Literature Review by Andrea Richeson & Perfecting Your Personas by Kim Goodwin
Why cant I make them up? “Designers frequently fail to realize or predict the difficulty people will experience in using their system. One reason is that they are extremely familiar with the system and have a very detailed and complete mental model. […] They fail to realize that the average user does not have this mental model and may never interact with the system enough to develop one.” -An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering by Christopher Wickens
Why a fake name etc.? “Creating personas that are a reflection of real people helps us as designers and developers to empathize with our end users and more easily consider needs, goals, and priorities that may be different than our own. ” -How to Create Effective Personas for Your Projects by Ron Akanowicz
Where to I get the Data? Surveys Easy & inexpensive. Knowledge of question writing techniques is strongly recommended to avoid biases. Focus Groups Allows collection of the ideas of a group of related users simultaneously. Must be careful of group think and vocal leaders. Contextual Interviews Can be costly. Interviewing in context of the users job. Kind of like shadowing. Site Metrics and Usage data Data about visitor habits can help define the outliers and unique traits. Provides a baseline
How many personas? The general rule of thumb is 3-5 per project. The personas should cover the 3-5 major user types the product is supporting. Too many means your product is not focused enough, and you may have feature creep, or you might be overcomplicating user goals.
PayCycle – Online Payroll BEFORE: “PayCycle’s biggest challenge was helping customers navigate through a complex setup process that lay between them and the open road.” AFTER: “The new PayCyclePayToday™ Setup tells you where you are, points out good rest stops, reminds you where you’ve already been, and how much further you have to go, resulting in a better experience and shortcuts to the destination.”
How they did it. They needed to understand why new customers struggled with and found the setup process confusing. They launched into a series of interviews with existing and prospective customers to learn how they think about payroll. This lead to the development of their personas which were used to create a set of new design criteria better matching the customers mental model about payroll. - Adaptive Path Case Studies: PayCycle
MindKey HCM Software MindKey processes are developed based on research and customer feedback. They have created several personas to illustrate ways different organization roles interact with their software.
Workday “Workday provides an intuitive, modern Internet user experience (UE) for all workers in a business, from power users to casual users.” -http://www.workday.com/solutions/foundation/user_experience.php
Workday – Casual Users Casual users only need to understand how to follow a link to get information and how to push a button to make changes—just like they experience using the Internet at home. There is no need to take training courses to learn about menus or how to search in order to make the application work for them. On their "All About Me" homepage they are just a click away from where they need to go to see data or take action. - http://www.workday.com/solutions/foundation/user_experience.php
Workday - Managers Managers get quick and easy views of the data they care about on their "My Workday" homepage via Worklets, or small windows that contain role specific data, tasks, or links. Managers can access their most commonly used tasks and reports directly from their homepage via their Quicklinks and Inbox Worklet to get to workflow approvals. They can also view embedded graphs of key processes they need to monitor such as progress of departmental performance reviews. Managers can also access a graphical organization chart that serves as the single destination for workforce management with links to relevant actions, such as staffing and compensation administration transactions, and reporting. -http://www.workday.com/solutions/foundation/user_experience.php
Workday – Power Users Power users need shortcuts throughout the system and tools to support multi-tasking. Workday supports these needs with slide out "workpanes," which let a power user check the status of a business process or view a favorite report without leaving the work in process on their main window. Robust search capabilities are included giving the ability to quickly search available transactions and reports as well as business data. -http://www.workday.com/solutions/foundation/user_experience.php