Reaction Note: – Chapter 5 – Modeling Users: Personas and Goals

Mobile devices, game consoles, and many other technologies all share a commonality. They have millions of varied users but are all designed at most by a few hundred people, with even fewer making decisions about the final aspects of the products. In chapter 5 “Modeling Users: Personas and Goals”, the authors give a glimpse into the processes of such designs through the explanation of Personas, Goals and offer steps on how to create such personas.

Summary:
Personas provide designers with a “way of thinking and communication about how users behave, how they think, what they wish to accomplish, and why” (pg.75). To make personas effective it is important that they are based on research about the target audience and not on stereotypes or caricatures of groups. Through creation of personas the designer must feel as if she or he has an inside knowledge of the user and in a way be able to picture that user and understand or be knowledgeable of their behavior. That understanding is referred to in the chapter as goals.

Goals motivate the use of products. Goal motivate individuals to act in a certain ways in order to achieve their said objective, as such, “user goals serve as a lens through which designers must consider the functions of a product” (pg.88). .

Criticism:
Although the explanation of Personas and Goals was a good reminder/refresher for me, I was not completely satisfied by the section on constructing personas. The author’s seven steps on how one can create a persona are incomplete in that they do not go far enough in giving examples to the reader of how they can be used. Explaining the concepts is not sufficient, giving contextual examples of how these steps can be put into action would have been better.

What research questions did the chapter make me think about (if any?)
The chapter left me with a curiosity of cross cultural persona creation. One research interest I have is to examine learning tools in use today are designed with the intentions of being used in different cultures. With the constant fast spread of technology, one has to ask if the tools that exist today were designed to be used globally. For example, if a designer in California creates a product that helps learners with math, can that product then be used in Ouagadougou with the same outcomes. Does the success of a technological product globally mean that designers have successfully replicated and incorporate cross-cultural design principles or have other cultures simply adapted and continue to incorporate technologies that did not have “them” in mind at their inceptions?

Reference: Cooper, Reimann, & Cronin. (2007). About face 3: The essentials of Interaction Design. Wiley.

word count: 478

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