Persona validation & development

21 Jan 2011 - 4:23am
3 years ago
6 replies
2704 reads
tgodding
2009

Hi there

I'm running a session with stakeholders to validate and develop the work I've been doing on a set of Personas. I just wondered if anyone had any experience of this & any ideas for how to get the most out of an hour session. I'm going to present the personas and explain how I got there initially but this is pretty dry & I'd really like to get them engaged and empathising. I think developing stories and scenarios around the characters would be the way forward but any ideas for how to do this in a workshop setting - exercises etc?

TG

Comments

21 Jan 2011 - 10:46am
holger_maassen
2010

Hi Tracy,

I quite agree with you - developing stories and scenarios around the characters is a good way to do this.

If I were you and I would have just one hour I would present  three personas within one very similar short use case  or  one personas  with in two or three use cases.

If I do this - my story is based on or in other words they are regard to the overall customer life cycle ...

overall customer life cycle

 

http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.com/2010/08/walk-while-in-someone-elses-shoes.html

 

And at the end of such meetings I like to explain why personas matter and how to utilise them within the project flow - I especially do this when I have the impression that my client has a question-mark in mind - And I see that his next question is "Are the personas and their outcomes definitely worth the time, effort and money?"

 

http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-personas-matter.html

Another good way is to do it by Comics ... http://thinkvitamin.com/design/how-to-understand-your-users-with-personas/#comment-15849

 

21 Jan 2011 - 8:06am
Louise Hewitt
2010

I like to get them to extrapolate the system/interface requirements that the user personas imply

e.g. "Jane is a busy mum of 3" = processes need to be interrupt-able "She is a construction engineer" = she probably works on site and accesses internet at home, therefore she has a residential connection and home-type IT equipment (laptop on the kitchen table over wifi?) = the site should display on small screens/low resolution and support low-bandwith access and be easy to operate with keyboard/touchpad (not too much drag and drop required)

From small statements, if you have faith in your personas, you can get along way towards creating a solid requirements list from a user/usage perspective.

This means that the knowledge of your personas can be used effectively in a project context, because you have translated the user's needs into the language of the project (requirements, goals, constraints etc.). Too many personas are dead ends, because they are never translated and left on the project shelf.

Lou.

24 Jan 2011 - 4:26pm
Paul Bryan
2008

Regardless of who is in the room when we do Persona reviews, their attention is most riveted when we show highlight videos. See a sample ethnography highlight video at: http://vimeo.com/12526177. A distant second is when we have them participate, e.g. brainstorming scenarios or feature that match persona characteristics. After we've grabbed their attention, we spend the rest of the time exploring key themes, variable dimensions,  and follow-up quantification. 

Paul Bryan, Usography

Linked In: Digital Design Strategy

 

26 Jan 2011 - 10:18am
rachelmwalsh
2011

Trying to keep stakeholders engaged when presenting personas is an interesting challenge.  Here are some techniques we have used the past that might help:

  1. Take stakeholders through a short version of the journey you took to persona creation and expose some of the key questions you use to identify or sort each of the personas.  To help make this interactive, you can have a couple responses that are "unsorted", depending on the size of your group - split people up and have them sort the few respondents into the personas.  It is a good way to expose them to how you sorted the personas and also correct any misconceptions.  
  2. Use REAL pictures to represent the personas. To make this more interactive, build posters for each persona, large enough so everyone can see them around the room, it is a great tool to have the personas "represented" in the room as a constant reminder and a great reference point for you throughout the workshop.  It is also  a great thing to leave behind and helps socialize the personas throughout the company.  
  3. Create a simple narrative for each of the personas. An engaging way to present the narratives is to have different people, not you, record a reading of each narrative - you can play it for the audience, helps make that persona "come alive" for the group.
  4. Create email addresses for the personas.  You can keep a persona "alive" by sending out notes in the voice of each persona. 

 

At User Insight we are building personas out from the ground up this year and blogging about it, feel free to look at more examples and background on our blog:

http://www.userinsight.com/blog/2011/01/21/personas-the-foundation-of-a-great-user-experience/

30 Jan 2011 - 8:06am
Sascha Brossmann
2008

Hi Tracy,

what is the actual goal/intended outcome of the session? What are the stakeholders’ roles and personalities like? (What works well with strictly result-oriented stiff introverts tends to be quite different from what works with curious explorative playful extraverts ;-)) Do those stakeholders already understand what the personas shall be good for? Anything the stakeholders could use the personas for within their own roles/context?

Generally, I often like to do exercises like e.g. ‘a day in the life of…’ during my workshops, but this would normally require a longer session. Maybe you could draw some sensible inspiration what to do within your time frame from Dave Gray's excellent ‘Game Storming’.

Cheers,

Sascha

On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 11:21, tgodding wrote: > Hi there > > I'm running a session with stakeholders to validate and develop the work > I've been doing on a set of Personas. I just wondered if anyone had any > experience of this & any ideas for how to get the most out of an hour > session. I'm going to present the personas and explain how I got there > initially but this is pretty dry & I'd really like to get them engaged and > empathising. I think developing stories and scenarios around the characters > would be the way forward but any ideas for how to do this in a workshop > setting - exercises etc? > > TG > > (((Please le

30 Jan 2011 - 1:05pm
Audrey Crane
2009

I'm not sure how you would be "validating" in an hour workshop with stakeholders, maybe you can explain more about that. Usually validating includes looking at more research to confirm your work.

However in terms of a quick exercise in a workshop setting that gets people's blood flowing, a cognitive walkthough of some of your existing site can be very effective. Choose a persona and a task, and show what they might be looking for and what they might be thinking as they try to accomplish it (and if you pick a good one, fail). It can be utterly shocking.

NNg has some stuff written on this. If you have time, start with showing the same pages and how great they look from the business perspective. This can be a great way to completely change people's perspectives, and they can extrapolate from there how this kind of perspective change might affect something being designed from scratch (although you should still describe whatever process you're going to use).

Good luck!

On Jan 21, 2011, at 1:56 AM, tgodding wrote:

> Hi there > > I'm running a session with stakeholders to validate and develop the work I've been doing on a set of Personas. I just wondered if anyone had any experience of this & any ideas for how to get the most out of an hour session. I'm going to present the personas and explain how I got there initially but this is pretty dry & I'd really like to get them engaged and empathising. I think developing stories and scenarios around the characters would be the way forward but any ideas for how to do this in a workshop setting - exercises etc? > > TG > >

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