Did I Pull That Persona Out of My You Know What

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Since Allan Cooper presented the Persona methodology to the software development world, companies have adopted the technique, to a fault. While personas are supposed to be "made up" they are not supposed to be pulled out of thin air and we were surprised to learn that many practitioners these days do just that. Background research into the users and product domain needs to be done to gain an understanding of the persona's technical expertise and motivating factors. Why do over 50% of companies cut costs by not taking the time to do this initial critical research? Wouldn't it just be better not to have personas? Last year Perforce hired Cooper for a new project and we only gave them 1 week to do initial research even though they had asked for more. They were still able to do the research and gave us personas before design started. We'll show entertaining Persona case studies where quick guerrilla research following initial Persona hypothesis has yielded vital changes to assumptions.

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Did I Pull That Persona Out of My You Know What

  1. 1. Did I Pull ThatPersona Out of My You Know What Nellie LeMonier David Drucker Perforce Software Perforce Software UX Design UX Design
  2. 2. {Abridged Slide Deck for SXSW 2013} Nellie LeMonier David Drucker Perforce Software Perforce Software UX Design UX Design
  3. 3. Case Study #1: Personas without research Larry Moe Curly User Sys Admin Content Manager The dev team made these up
  4. 4. Personas are used to• Unite product team• Reduce conjecture• Build the product with the right requirements
  5. 5. Personas created from• Field studies• Domain research• User observation• Mental model and behavior
  6. 6. Personas are made up• An initial hypothesis can be made of the roles• The persona should not remain a hypothesis
  7. 7. Case Study:Content Management System (CMS)• Developers came up with the personas• No research was done to create these
  8. 8. CMS Personas – Take 1 Larry Moe Curly The dev team made these up
  9. 9. CMS Personas – Take 1What was R I G H T with Larry, Moe and Curly ?-United the team, gave them a commonconversation-Tasks for personas were defined
  10. 10. CMS Personas – Take 1What was W R O N G with Larry, Moe and Curly ?-No motivating factors defined-No domain expertise defined-Did not reduce conjecture-Curly couldn’t type and his voice to speech skillswere lacking
  11. 11. CMS Personas – Take 21st: Larry, Moe and Curly were retired (RIP)2nd: Research domain through internal websitemanager interviewed. Roles & tasks determined.(1 day)3rd: Research specific roles through interviews(1 week)4th. Synthesize into new Personas(1 week)
  12. 12. CMS Personas – Take 2Aaron Maya EdFront End Developer Content Editor Site Administrator
  13. 13. Take 2 Conclusions1. Motivations are clear2. Tasks are defined3. Expertise known4. Unifies product team
  14. 14. Next Case Study { Sneak Peek } “Vera” made a cameo appearance as one of our Personas
  15. 15. Thanks for reading and we hope to get your vote.“Whishing it was South-by every day”@NellieLeMonier David Drucker

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