Personas and Inclusive Design

19 Nov 2004 - 4:27pm
10 years ago
1 reply
773 reads
Umesh Persad
2004

Dear List Members,

I've been thinking about the use of personas in Inclusive
Design/Universal Design
[e.g. http://www.idsa.org/webmodules/articles/articlefiles/Mueller.pdf].
What strikes
me the most is that if we look at able bodied users, personas can be
used as a tool
to characterise user groups for design. I see it as a good thinking tool
and focusing
technique in design.

However, if we use personas for Inclusive Design, it seems to me that to
capture all
of the issues of people with various disabilities, we would have to
develop lots of different
personas to represent all the issues involved. I see this as going
against the philosophy of personas.
No only can we say well lets develop personas of people with vision,
mobility, cognitive
problems etc. but what about combinations of these?

As people age, multiple capability loss occurs, and this has
implications for design.
Because Inclusive design looks beyond the "averages" to the ends of the
spectrum, and Personas
can be seen as a way to contract the "user space" into managebale points
of focus, how do we
reconcile the two? How do we know that certain personas we use are
biasing the design toward
perople with certain capability limitations, and by so doing exclude others?

I am wondering if anyone has ever used personas for people with
disabilitites/aged in designing a
product, and would like to comment on how useful they were in the
process? Somehow I am not
expecting many examples of this, as I have found that the actual use of
inclusive design/universal
design is not something that is adopted widely and not a topic that
holds much interest for designers
in general.

Best regards,
Umesh

--
Umesh Persad
Engineering Design Centre (EDC)
Department of Engineering, Cambridge University
Phone: +44 1223 766962
Fax: +44 1223 332662
Email: up209 at cam.ac.uk
Web: http://www-edc.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/up209.html

Comments

22 Nov 2004 - 9:22am
Andrei Sedelnikov
2004

> I am wondering if anyone has ever used personas for people with
> disabilitites/aged in designing a
> product, and would like to comment on how useful they were in the
> process?

Dear Umesh,

Recently I was attending one presentation, where it was shown,
how the people with disablilities can be used in development process
as Personas.

Unfortunately the presentation was held in German Language,
but you can contact the author, Dr. Gottfried Zimmermann
(http://www.accesstechnologiesgroup.com/) for details and may be
an english version. As far as I know Dr. Gottfried Zimmermann
was previously working in the Trace Research & development Center.
(http://trace.wisc.edu/)

regards,
Andrei Sedelnikov
http://usabilist.de/en

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