Personas’ Remote Research

To build a persona can be tricky; you can just look how actors need months to put in the shoes of a their new characters. In UI design, personas’ creation is part of the analysis stage: they will be used to define requirements, to prepare user tests, to support decisions and to establish a meeting points between designers, developers, and stakeholders.

What is a persona?

Personas are fictitious users you create based on your user research. Personas summarize your user research findings and provide a practical approach to understanding the requirements of your target audience and keeping user perspectives in mind when designing products and creating documentation for them.

By Niranjan Jahagirdar and Arun Joseph Martin for UX Matters.

I wanted to include this definition just as an introduction, because what matters to me now is how to perform personas’ research when you cannot access to any focus group, you cannot do direct interviews or observe users.

Beyond the discussion about whether this artifact is useful or not, I think that even for large organizations is a wothwhile investigation which will help to the team to be closer to the real and target user. So, this is basically my suggestions whenever you need to face a persona’s modeling:

  • Identify primary and secondary individuals to give importance to product requirements
  • Identify behavioural variables and patterns by reading blogs, analysing the professional/gender/demographics statistics associated, and understanding the complexity of their tasks beyond the technology
  • Undestand how business rules, and work environment can affect to the performance and frequency of their tasks
  • Learn how subjects like politics can affect to the user daily work (tasks, goals, attitudes and motivations)

Tips from above are not new, you can find more precise ones in the Chapter 5: Modeling Users: Personas and Goals, of the book About Face 3.

Creating persona’s is not an obscure or expensive procedure but a powerful tool wich will help designers to make decisions confidientially. 

The visual interface is now your brand

Let’s go for inspiration…


Nick Myers: The Visual Interface is Now Your Brand.

“… about the considerations of visual interface design. First of all, Software isn’t fashion. The goal of visual design is really to support the user experience, primarily, and we also have to think about creating experiences that are timeless.”

Social Design

Has the design a social mission? Personally, I believe that art has nowadays a strong commitment with our society; more than ever an artist cannot afford be a purely contemplative being. Should the design follow the same trend?

Blanksy, an artist that I love by his compromise with the need of denunciation and critic, has an important presence in the Wall of Shame built in Palestine. Apparently, not all palestinians have agreed with Blanksy’s vision of the reality, nevertheless they’ve contributed to express their feelings and to tell the story by using the same tool: the creativeness.

In regards of design, we can see more pieces of popular expressions like the #15M movement – also known as “Real Democracy Now” – which have provoked the contribution of such many different peoplenot only designers – and has used the design among social networks and public demonstrations.

This combination of support, talent, need, and commitment, is rising up as part of the ethic of a designer with his/her own profession.

There are, actually, communities dedicated to provide the designer’s talent to any NGO which need it.

I think that even UX/UI designers should be part of this tendency not forgetting the difference between the private and the public, and bringing back some forgotten concepts such as software libre, creative commons, and responsible consume. Now, when we seem to be safe.