Reading Response Oct. 10th.

It was suggested that we should know the what, how, and why of a few topics covered in the readings.  Here is a brief rundown that I have concluded after reading the chapters.

A persona is a user model that represents a specific. individual human being. A persona is not a stereotype.  Demographic info should be used sparingly when first constructing your personas so it doesn’t influence your persona and change it into a stereotype.  These are useful because you can create a narrative using a persona interacting with your product.  They are a fictional user. How does this persona’s goals change how they use this product?

Use cases focus on low-level user action.  They treat all possible user interactions as equally possible. A use case focuses on the functional requirements of the system and how the user interacts with it and the accompanying response from the product.  Using a person in a use case (or a Goal-Directed scenario) allows the designer to see the behavior associated with the product from the standpoint of a persona.

Scenarios create a specific story to construct and illustrate design problems and/or solutions.  It has a setting, an actor (and/or persona) and the scenario records what the actor would do in a situation.  The scenarios are described in a narrative.  Essentially, a designer needs to know their system well enough to empathize with a persona and view the product through their eyes.

Task Analysis uses questionaires or open-ended interviews to understand how a user currently performs a task. The data from the questionaires or interviews is analyzed and broken down into a concise description identifiying the problems and methods they use to complete a task.

Task analysis can only get you so far.  You can see how the user currently solves problems as well as the problems that currently exist.  This would give you a base of data to answer questions about improving a design or creating a new one.  A use case allows you to see the lowest form of interactions, how does a user complete a task.  This would be helpful for more of a programmer or layout designer but does not help with the experience or interactions with the product. A use case with a persona allows you to see how a particular type of person would solve the problem or task. This could allow you to cater your product to a more specific type of person, or take their needs and wants into account while designing. A scenario could be created at anytime during the design process as it could identify needs or problems of the user, providing information for the designer to work with.

I found the readings ok this time.  Cooper’s reading went deeply into personas but refused to give real examples which is something I was looking for. It also discussed scenarios. The UX Book’s readings focused on different types of models for analyzing data and discussed models that could help influence your design. I liked the photos of their WADD analysis, it was nice to see it in action. The models were rather detailed and had lots of nice examples and even included examples of barriers in the model.  I’m a fan of a graphical representation of the interaction and I would love to make some sketches of one. (It would be fun I think, to try and think of all the different things that would affect each component)  I am still a bit fuzzy on keeping track of all the models. I imagine, like in most things, a mix of models provides the best data.

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