Course Notes

Types of Personas: Cooper

  • “Personas, like all powerful tools, can be grasped in an instant but can take months or years to master.” (Cooper, 2003)

Personas in Practice

  • Help focus attention on a specific audience
  • Help make assumptions about the target audience more specific
  • Help avoid the trap of building what users think they want rather than what they will actually use
  • Help avoid the trap of building what dev think users want
  • Provide benchmark for measurement (decision-making)
  • Help prioritize ideas, features (decision-making)
  • Personas are a medium for communication: once a set of personas is familiar to a team, a new finding can be easily communicated.

How Personas Work:

  • Power of narrative to engage
  • Help create scenarios that work
  • Breathe life into task analysis
  • Theory of Mind: 25 years of psychological research on how we can predict another person’s behavior  based on understanding their mental state

In sum, needed detail

  • A real name
  • Age
  • A photo
  • Personal info, including family and home life
  • Work environment (not job description)
  • Computer proficiency and comfort with the web
  • Info-seeking habits
  • Attitudes, including pet peeves
  • Personal and professional goals (very age dependent)
  • Motivation: why would this person us your high-tech product


  • Personas are a tool which enables the design team to communicate nuance and emotion, with the goal of creating a product that more closely meets target audience needs.




Final Assignment

Competitive Analysis

  • Copy/Paste these questions onto your site. Answer each section.
    • What are the criteria you will use to analyze each competitive site?
      • What type of site is YOUR site? (genre)
      • Who is YOUR audience?
      • How do you know if the site is “successful?” — (donations, sign-ups, sales, etc)
      • What are the design criteria? (is your site bold, soft, bright, plain – etc)
    • Analyze three sites like yours.
      • Org name, URL, home page screen shot,
      • Analytical summary, including “do-s” and “don’t-s”.
      • See Example here

    Content Plan

    • Site Map
    • Wire Frame
    • Social Media tie-in (and why)

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