I have a question on the methodology for personas -
I'm doing a project right now that we are trying to fastrack and get off the ground by doing some collaborative brainstorming with the product marketing folks. We haven't done any user research, have no budget for such research, we have no product requirements, etc. I'm supposed to have concept wireframes by mid december. The users are global and across a wide spectrum of socio/economoc strata and geographic locations.
So question, I'm following the following process for brainstorming around the interface:
1) Brainstorm Issues/problems we are trying to solve
2) Brainstorm user characteristics and then turn those characteristics into a couple of personas
3) From the personas, brainstorms goals, and user tasks.
4) Flow out the user tasks.
5) Start turning the tasks into a high level structure and either quickly brainstorm on a paper some drawing around either a vertical slice of the UI or a top level horizontal slice.
6) After the fact, go out and find users who fit the characteristics of the personas and either create new personas, or validate the pretend personas.
The whole idea is to get the team to think about who the users are, think about what the user's goals and tasks are, and create a personas that can then drive the rapid paper prototype process.
When I've done brainstorming where we are quickly doing design and have non-design stakeholders participating, I have used this technique several times with good results. I learned it over 10 years from designers who embraced the Inmates Are Running the Asylum Book by Alan Cooper. So some other designers in the brainstorming session did not like the technique, particularly around the personas, because they felt we were creating stereotypes. In addition, the designers felt that we should brainstorm the user goals and tasks first and have those drive how we create personas, not the other way around, i.e. Personas drive user goals, tasks. I've always done it the above way, and never had a problem with somebody question the methodology. I think that one of the issues is that we were stretching our knowledge a bit as we have users in emerging market countries, that we might not necessarily be as familiar with as say a country in the developing world, like
the US or the UK.
Obviously I'll admit I could update some of my methodology and learning- but I'm wondering, does anybody else follow this process? What literature is there out there that can validate this, other than the Inmates are Running the Asylum? What are good articles/books that outline a good process for generating personas, goals, tasks, and then interface designs in collaborative brainstorming sessions? Ginny Redish's User and Task Analysis come to mind, and The Bridge Method by Tom Dayton... Any ideas?