Day 2: Using Personas to Guide Design

Kim Goodwin, Cooper

Are you designing for too many different users, each with conflicting goals? Is your team struggling to agree on a common design because everyone has a different opinion about what’s right? Do you have trouble communicating your users’ needs to the rest of your team?

The best solution to deal with these types of critical issues is a Persona. A Persona is a description of an archetypal user synthesized from a series of interviews with real people. Each Persona provides goals that drive product design and strategy, from the original conception and feature list, all the way to the visual interface design. When incorporating Personas into the design process, teams can focus on each persona's goals to develop a product that satisfies the needs of many users.

To teach you everything you'll need to build your own personas, we’ve asked Cooper’s Kim Goodwin to create a new one-day seminar just for the UIE Roadshow. The talented folks at Cooper popularized the concept of Personas and Kim Goodwin developed and refined the technique. She is *the* expert to turn to for guidance when creating personas.

Day 2 of the UIE Roadshow covers everything you’ll need to successfully develop personas for your design projects. Here are just a few things you will learn:

  1. Moving beyond just understanding users' tasks to create breakthrough designs. Goals represent what people really want to accomplish; tasks are merely how they get there. Tasks tend to change when technology changes. By looking at goals, you can often get rid of unnecessary tasks altogether, simplifying your design.
  2. Interviewing techniques designed to uncover goals. You’ll learn to ask the right questions to get accurate information without leading the user
  3. Translating user observations into Personas. Kim will demonstrate how to take the what you learned from field research to create a set of Personas.
  4. Creating helpful, effective Personas. Kim will show you how to select the best Personas to ensure you have a balanced perspective going into your design.
  5. Bridging the chasm between understanding the requirements and getting to a design concept. You'll see how Personas narrow the gap and make that transition easier. You'll learn why you can't rely on inspiration alone and how Persona-based scenarios help you create and validate your solution.
  6. Leveraging Personas to persuade and educate stakeholders. Kim will show you how to use Personas as a powerful communication vehicle, enabling you to communicate user needs with your design team and clients.

In this seminar, Kim will share the entire process for Persona creation—soup to nuts.

Who Should Attend?

If you are involved in interface design, either as a designer or project manager, you’ll benefit from Kim’s excellent presentation skills and tremendous experience. Web Designers and Interface Designers will find the techniques in this seminar useful in extending their skill sets. Usability Practitioners and Technical Writers will like the new tools available to do a fabulous job. Product Managers will see the strategic value in using Personas to define and prioritize product features. And, Project Managers, who often have a hunch that there’s a better way to manage the process, will leave with some ideas for process changes and a new vocabulary that can dramatically enhance team communication.

In addition to hearing all of the great insights from Kim, you will receive a detailed seminar notes booklet, including a suggested reading list and example personas and scenarios.

UIE Roadshow Seminar Recommendations: If you're interested in Personas, you will also want to start out your week with Kate Gomoll and Ellen Story’s Field Research seminar on Day 1. Then, cap off your week in Ginny Redish's Honing Your Usability Testing Skills seminar on on Day 3.