Field Studies for persona development
Requirements based on what users actually do
Understanding user personas is key. Personas are derived from field studies. Field Studies offer critical insight into the requirements users need to be successful with your application. By conducting analysis of users and their tasks you gain user intelligence about missing features and prioritization of content, navigation, layout and display. Persona research determines customer behavior primarily through goal and task identification.
- Design by behavior driven scenarios (probabilities) not what is possible from a marketing or technology perspective.
- Interviewing and observing customers allows you to capture what they do, not what they say.
- Personas can provide a powerful research -based validation of user behavior, helping you make better design decisions.
- No other research technique compares to ethnography and task analysis for understanding design needs because it investigates human cognition and its relationship to user interaction with the product.
- While your competitors determine their features and functionality needs from focus groups, you can offer a "customer experience" that incorporates two strategic imperatives: usability and desirability.
Types of Persona Research:
1. Workplace Studies. Work places reveal what strategies users employ to think, solve, decide and complete goals and tasks. How can you lay out a screen if you don't know the sequence, thoughts and actions users regularly perform to do what you want them to do? You can't very easily.
- Profile your customers and their expectations if you want to know more about who they are, what roles they play, what tasks are important, what features are needed where and how to match your screen with their stream of consciousness. 15-30 customer interviews. 15 day turnaround.
2. Consumer Home Studies. Home studies involve going into customers homes to talk to them, observe their workflow, patterns and to review the "artifacts" they use to solve their problems (relative to your domain). Your users will show you what they use to complete a task, how they do it and what problems or issues they encounter during the process.
- Home studies may involve unstructured interviewing and "show me how you do it" walk-throughs. 15-30 customer interviews. 15 day turnaround.
3. Wider Field Studies. Wide field studies provide a longitudinal view of your customers by sampling their behavioral trends and expectations across time. "Deep dive" interviews involve multiple ethnographic study techniques and can be used to innovate completely new products that satisfy a previously undetected need.
- Profile your customers and their expectations, goals, tasks
- Understand what delights your customers
- What features and functionality are important
- 15-40 customer interviews
- 15-20-day turnaround time
- B2B, B2C, B2E studies
- Suitable for websites, intranets, web applications, products
About Experience Dynamics
Experience Dynamics is a usability consulting firm providing global design research services. The company's User-Centered Design methodology and usability consulting services are used by Fortune 500 companies in enterprise, institutional and consumer facing products, software and Web environments. Since 2001, Experience Dynamics has delivered professional usability consulting solutions including usability testing, ethnographic user studies, usability reviews, usability surveys, usability training and user interface design services. In addition, the company hosts a community-based free online usability review service at www.PortlandUsability.com and rents and sells portable usability testing labs at www.UsabilityLabRental.com.
Clients benefiting from Experience Dynamics usability consulting services include Logitech, Intel, Verizon, Target, Wells Fargo, IBM, Key Bank, Hewlett-Packard, WhitePages.com, Land Rover, Providence Health System, Washington Mutual, Garage Games, Four Seasons, Microsoft and more.
Read company founder Frank Spillers, MS blog 'Demystifying Usability': www.demystifyingusability.com.