PERSONAS - design process technique

Reading this recent article on Ford's design process for the Fiesta reminded me of the importance of "personas" in human-centered design.

A persona is basically a character that you create to capture certain characteristics and needs of the group of people that you are designing for. The idea is that designers can then better understand and relate to their users - making design decisions less abstract.

In the case of the article above, Ford created "Antonella - an attractive 28-year old woman who lives in Rome. Her life is focused on friends and fun, clubbing and parties." Antonella's love for her cellphone (a characteristic based on market research) led Ford to design a dashboard interface inspired by that of a mobile phone. The hope is then that controlling the features of the car is more intuitive for its users.

I was introduced to the concept of persona's in Dan Gilbert's Designing Learning Spaces class, and here is a great article on personas by Don Norman.


PiCo Workshop Completed

In June I finished leading a series of design workshops looking at new uses for hand-held digital projectors (pico projectors) in museums. A short write-up about the workshops can be seen at the InterMedia website here.

The series included separate workshops with children (12 and 15 year-olds) and experts in fields of museum design, learning, and technology as well as the mobile phone industry. Participants really seemed to enjoy themselves as the discussion and activities emphasized creativity in identifying new affordances of this technology in museum settings. I was particularly impressed with the young participants creation of video scenarios to express and think through their ideas. I'm currently working on analyzing the data and results from these workshops to present findings on both the content and methodology at a conference in october. I hope to share more on these findings soon!


IADIS Mobile Learning 2009 - Conference Slides

Here are the long-overdue slides from my presentation at the IADIS MOBILE LEARNING 2009 Conference. These are just the images, so if anyone knows how to embed my notes along with the slides, please let me know. In the presentation, I used an optical illusion exhibit from the Exploratorium in San Francisco as a metaphor for the relationships between physical museum space, social learning interactions, and mobile phones. I would be happy to email out a copy of the full paper as well, if anyone is interested.

-- Rolf Steier


Digital Field Guide

This article describes a pretty cool mobile application that helps users identify tree species based on pictures of leaves. I actually saw Sean White, a designer of this application, speak at the 2007 Mobile Persuasive conference, so it's nice to see the project continue development. It is easy to imagine how these types of applications can transform outdoor public spaces into richer learning environments.

- Rolf


more projector-phones

The future seems to be arriving quite quickly. A while ago I wrote about mobile projectors as an emerging technology. Well my current research focuses on exactly this technology and the implications for learning in public spaces like museums. I'm actually planning a design workshop to explore this further. In any case, I was encouraged to see another example of these projectors being integrated with mobile phones. I really do believe that this feature may be as common as camera phones in two years time, so this is a great opportunity to think about the learning implications early on.

rolf steier