Lecture Notes: Week 3 » User Persona, Artefact Persona and Scenario Planning

Posted on March 19, 2011


Week three’s lecture is split up into two parts the first part deals with the different stages of the design process and the second part talks about user persona, artefact persona and scenarios.

Part 02 – User Persona, Artefact Persona and Scenario Planning

The second part of week three’s lecture talks about user persona, artefact persona and user scenario.
Personas are fictional archetypal users, a research tool or methodology that helps interactive designers map out their target audience. Personas are vital and useful to designers because it requires them to articulate and record who the archetypal users for their designs are. It is not design without an articulated and conscious vision of the audience.

Scenarios are narratives, which portray possible interactions of types of users and the system (or design). These scenarios may include goals, expectations, motivations, actions and reactions. Scenarios work in conjunction with Persona development and help us see how these interactions might fit into everyday activities of our personas or target audience.

An example given in the lecture is based off Cooper’s PDA airport guide (below).

Persona Artefacts is giving a persona to the product or design. Some questions to help designers apply a persona to their product or design are:

  1. If the interface were a person, what would she or he be like?
  2. How would you expect users to react when they first view the product?
  3. How would you describe this product to a friend?
  4. How is the product different from competitive products?
  5. Which celebrity (or car, or movie, etc) is the product most like?
    Least like?

The example given on Persona Artefacts was based on a medical device that would be used to assist elderly patients and help them manage their healthcare in their homes. The device as given the personality of a visiting nurse – caring, conscientious and trustworthy. These traits were taken from the experience keyword chart that was made in the beginning of the process.

What I’ve learnt from this lecture is that it’s extremely important to identify and understand who you’re designing for. Developing user personas and placing them into a scenario is the best way to do it because you can clearly see how your product might fit into their lives. It is also an crucial step that shouldn’t be skipped because you might just end up going round in circles in the production stage.

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