In this class, we reported the findings from the contextual inquiry exercise you did the class before. Then, we used that information for you to work individually to create a persona, a scenario, and design requirements. The feedback for that assignment is summarized in this blog post.
The most important things you need to remember from this class are the definitions and distinctions between personas, scenarios, and design requirements.
Personas are based on the data from your user research. They are composites, but they are not fictional. They are not a product of your imagination…
Scenarios take the persona and imagine how the new magical product you will design solves their problems. Scenarios are a combination of research (manifested in the persona) and your imagination. They happen in the future, and show what a day in the persona’s life will be like when they have full use of your new magical product. In the scenario, you see what the persona does with the new magical product, and how the persona uses it. Based on this, you extract a list of…
Design requirements – these are specifications for what the product should be able to do, along with any platform and technical requirements.
The grades for your Persona Lab Assignments have been posted on The CN. Please take a look at them and let me know if you have any questions.
Overall, as a class I was impressed with your creativity and ability to bring these personas to life (and some of the names were quite comical). As empathy devices for design, it is important to give your personas a convincing story. Most of you did this with your extremely precise and rich descriptions. Purposeful descriptions and detailed narratives can reveal more about who you’re designing for – beyond the standard “22, Male, Student” information.
If you lost points, it was most likely because you were missing either the scenario or design requirements list that were outlined in the assignment description. The best way to avoid this in the future is to carefully read the assignment descriptions and pay close attention to what the actual deliverables are for each lab assignment (and any assignment, for that matter.) A few of you might have lost a small amount of points for missing the individual elements of the persona itself.
Also, if you want to ensure that I understand the content of your assignment and the requirement that you were trying to fulfill, be sure to make your headings and descriptions explicitly clear and obvious. Be user-centered, or audience-centered, in your assignments (Dr. V. and I are your audience). “Speak the user’s language.” If an assignment description asks for a list of design requirements, it never hurts to label one of your sections “Design Requirements.”
I also noticed that many of you were unclear on the purpose of a scenario. Many, if not most of you described a typical day in the life of your persona with lovely and thorough descriptions of their struggles to prepare for class. However, you were meant to create a scenario similar to what Dr. V. did in class with “Tinkerbell.” Your scenario should have included your proposed solution for your persona’s problems and needs. You can pretend the technology or interface is magical at this point, and worry about what is actually feasible or possible later. The process of writing a scenario like this helps you get a feel for the problems that your persona might run into and what your design requirements are. Because of the prevalence of confusion, I did not take points of for those individuals that did not do this. We’ll cover scenarios more in upcoming classes.
As always, please let me know if you have any concerns.
Important points from class:
Deciding when to use what research method:
Interviews are more appropriate for one on one research when you want to understand one person’s view on things, contextual inquiry is better for trying to understand how a person works so that you can innovate a certain part of their day to day activities, focus groups are best when brainstorming for certain ideas. – student J.C. (emphasis mine)
What are personas, scenarios, and design requirements and what are they used for?
- Personas – research reports that help us remember and empathize with the users we researched. Not fictional or made up; based on research.
- Scenarios – creative stories that involve what the persona would do if they had our new magic product. Scenarios bridge research and creativity. They help us move towards envisioning what the product would be able to do, and extracting lists of:
- Design requirements – specifications for what functionality the product should have, what platform(s) it should work on, etc.
See also Joshua’s recommendation for a post about personas.