Exploring the persona model as a tool to generate user insight through co-creation with users in the early phase of a design project

DS 87-4 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 4: Design Methods and Tools, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Hansen, Jane Holm; Nielsen, Louise Mřller
Series: ICED
Institution: Aalborg University, Denmark
Section: Design Methods and Tools
Page(s): 089-097
ISBN: 978-1-904670-92-6
ISSN: 2220-4342


The persona model is a widely know tool for synthesizing user research. A persona is a hypothetical archetype based on actual users, which is typically created to create a shared understanding of the user in the design team. Previous research has focused on the personal model as a consensus-making tool. However, in this paper the aim is to explore, whether the persona model can also be useful and valuable for collecting user insights. More specifically, the paper investigates the potentials and challenges of using the persona model as a generative tool to achieve user insight, when co-creating with the user in the early phase of a design project. A modified persona template with fixed parameters has been introduced to users in two co-creation workshops. The users were asked to fill in the persona template based on their own experiences. This study is a first endeavor into exploring the persona model as a generative tool and so far the empirical study includes only two co-creation-workshops, which is too few to make any solid conclusions. Still, the study indicates some interesting insights about the potentials and challenges the persona model has, when used as a generative tool.

Keywords: Participatory design, Early design phases, Research methodologies and methods, Persona, User insight


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