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!