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Re: Creating personas for WAI site redesign

From: <deborah.kaplan@suberic.net>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:14:28 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
To: Mike Elledge <melledge@yahoo.com>
cc: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <alpine.WNT.2.20.1606141708530.14356@gratuity>
In general, the most productive way to ask about gender if it needs to be asked about is to leave a free text field. Most people will probably fill out male or female--and it's easy enough for a developer to normalize the variety of answers, spellings, etc., around male and female. And for the people for whom merely being asked to answer that question with a binary or skip it is one of the countless micro and macro aggressions comprising trans, genderqueer, agender, and intersex existence,  having a free text field is a way of saying "hi, we welcome you".

That being said, one way to head off worries like Ginger's at the pass in a world like the one we live in now is that any survey which gathers potentially personally identifiable information would do well to link to a generic boilerplate about how it's not gathering or saving or storing any of that. Having done enough volunteer work for the W3C myself, I completely understand that we do most of it in our Copious Free Time (TM), which is a magical invention that happens between the time when the clock strikes twelve and thirteen o'clock on February 30th. That's why it would be ideal if the W3C gave us better outreach assistance for creating these tools.


On Tue, 14 Jun 2016, Mike Elledge wrote:

> Hi Patrick--
> Thanks for the link to Indi's article.
> She makes a good case for not relying on demographics. I do agree that it is easy to make assumptions about people based on our experiences and prejudices, and that stereo-typing should be
> avoided. That said, personas are a short-hand way to think about people, and, if you're careful about not imposing your perceptions, can be an effective way to express user objectives and
> motivations.
> I think that whether gender, age, location or other demographics should be included in a persona depends on whether they are relevant to understanding the person for whom you are designing.
> Sometimes they are.
> Mike
> On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:45 PM, Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk> wrote:
> On 14/06/2016 17:31, Mike Elledge wrote:
> >Personas include demographic information and
> > descriptions of behavior. It will be munched together to describe
> > several fictitious persons that designers can keep in mind so that their
> > needs aren't overlooked.
> >
> > [...] but you all
> > might have at least googled "personas" before taking her to task.
> Assuming the "you all" also included me...
> Leaving aside the spying/NSA thing (which derailed the original point),
> the issue of gender is a valid one, and one that deserves care and
> sensitivity (just the same way that I note there's no question about
> ethnic background, religion, etc?). In relation to personas, see for
> instances
> https://medium.com/@indiyoung/describing-personas-af992e3fc527#.ydxwxw1j7
> Anyway, I'll leave it at that. The survey's been at least modified away
> from a binary male/female, which some people may find
> inappropriate/restrictive, which is at least a start, thanks.
> P
> --
> Patrick H. Lauke
> www.splintered.co.uk | https://github.com/patrickhlauke
> http://flickr.com/photos/redux/ | http://redux.deviantart.com
> twitter: @patrick_h_lauke | skype: patrick_h_lauke

Received on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 21:15:04 UTC

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