Building personas from phenomenography: a method for user-centered design in education

Tra Huynh, Adrian Madsen, Sarah McKagan, Eleanor Sayre
2021 Information and Learning Science  
Purpose Personas are lifelike characters that are driven by potential or real users' personal goals and experiences when interacting with a product. Personas support user-centered design by focusing on real users' needs. However, the use of personas in educational research and design requires certain adjustments from its original use in human-computer interface design. This paper aims to propose a process of creating personas from phenomenographic studies, which helps us create data-grounded
more » ... sonas effectively. Design/methodology/approach Personas have features that can help address design problems in educational contexts. The authors compare the use of personas with other common methodologies in education research, including phenomenology and phenomenography. Then, this study presents a six-step process of building personas using phenomenographic study as follows: articulate a design problem, collect user data, assemble phenomenographic categories, build personas, check personas and solve the design problem using personas. The authors illustrate this process with two examples, including the redesign of a professional development website and an undergraduate research program design. Findings The authors find that personas are valuable tools for educational design websites and programs. Phenomenography can productively help educational designers and researchers build sets of personas following the process the authors propose. Originality/value The use and method of personas in educational contexts are scarce and vague. Using the example contexts, the authors provide educational designers and researchers a clear method of creating personas that are relatable and applicable for their design problems.
doi:10.1108/ils-12-2020-0256 fatcat:tlwc6itqjrb27ggtdyfmbu2lbq