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Notes on personas

From: Jon Dodd <jon@bunnyfoot.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 16:07:55 -0000
Message-Id: <200401271610.i0RGAWGK008695@bunnyfoot.co.uk>
To: <public-wai-eo-site@w3.org>

Hi all

Some thoughts about our use of personas thus far - following are references
to pages which discuss these points far more elequently and knowledgebly
than I can (they are also concise so worth a read).

* Numbers and lack of priority:
I am concerned that we are losing focus a bit with our personas - part of
that concern comes from our 'difficulty' with prioritising - but lets not go
there. The net result is we have too many personas such that we cannot
realistically focus on them because it is too much information to absorb. We
need to be able to speak about them in a common currency - about issues that
will face them rather than our assumptions about a certain class of user -
that's the point of them. When debating/deciding design issues/design
impacts etc. we need to be able to say 'joe smith would need that
because...'. The personas need to be well known (not necessarily loved) by
us all. Can we prioritise a bit? To some extent our design impacts analysis
thus far has thrown some light on this (primary characteristics here could
be incorporated into a primary persona). Can we at least prioritise based on
material available in the site - different interface (even tone) depending
on the role of the content?

* Too politically correct - not specific enough?
Another issue concerns our attempting to be to inclusive, which impacts on
the specificity of the personas we produce and therefore potentially their
value. Perhaps we are being too politically correct - we need these to be a
tool to make a better interface/site which will improve the experience for
everybody. Specificity will help us get to the crux of the matter. Getting
the interface right for one user and meeting their goals (see next) will
permit us to abstract to others. Remember these are design tools to help not
hinder us. 

* Overly task based - need to consider goals
At present our personas are largely task based - we should make them more
goals based - this will help us make the correct user centric decisions. We
already have an in-depth task analysis - the personas should not replicate
this. Goals should be personal and it should be our job to meet them. E.g. A
goal might be increase job prospects and professional status - the tasks to
do this might be multiple and include: gaining in-depth knowledge of
technical accessibility issues, becoming involved with the WAI, becoming an
source of knowledge about the wider issues. The goals act like heuristics we
can use to keep the big picture in mind (seeing the wood despite the trees).
See the refs for more on this.

* Names
I think we should be consistent and we should use both first and second
names (I agree with Blossom) - we want to get to know these people - its
another instance of specificity.

From Alan Cooper - the inmates are running the asylum - these are extracts
from the book found on the web (I'm assuming no copywrite has been

Goals: http://www.coms.hkbu.edu.hk/~williams/concepts/gpsGoals.html
Specificity: http://www.coms.hkbu.edu.hk/~williams/concepts/gpsPersonas.html

A general description/introduction to personas (from the cooper stable)

Enough from me for now


Received on Tuesday, 27 January 2004 20:14:33 UTC

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