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March 12, 2009

PersonasOn behalf of Todd (there were 2 UE related talk at the same time), I went to the “Personas, Profiles, Actors, & Roles: Modeling Users to target Successful Product Design” by Jeff Patton. Being a newbie in this area, I found the idea to be refreshing and powerful. Using the funny video clip on Spinal Tab’s stonehenge, he illustrated the importance of understanding the context of the product that we are building, rather than blindly following specification from the clients/users.

A software product is shaped by business strategy, users, legacy code, regulatory constraints, product usage … Being agile, we can have a bloated backlog. A good way deal with that issue is to identify the different types of users that is relevant to the product design and prioritize them accordingly to the targeted audience that we care most. We can have many different way of categorizing the user, such as according to their computer skills, their goals (broker vs agent vs buyers vs press…),  first time user, returning user, user with different domain understanding level (agent just got into real estate business vs agent who has years of experience)….  We can come up with lots of different users with their own characteristics, but some users may not make a difference in how the product should function, hence we can group them together. After having distincts personas, we can prioritze them taking into account of the business goals, then we can priortize the different feature/design according to the characteristics. Personas make user data more tangible, ensure we didn’t miss the different aspects and gives clue about the proper UE design. The distinct personas show who are the targeted audience and become the design imperatives to keep us focus.

By: Nyik San Ting

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