Milestone 3: Personas
Personas: Fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are given characteristics and are assumed to be in particular environments based on known users' requirements so that these elements can be taken into consideration when creating scenarios for conceptualizing a site. (Answers.com)[top]
To begin, the team restated our project goal to emphasize our desire to get individuals out of their cars when there is another viable mode of transportation available. From this, we decided to focus more on the decision making process and ways in which we could make alternative forms of transport more appealing during the decision making phase.
We began our persona-creating session by brainstorming about the type of characters that would be representative of the people in the public transit domain and could successfully articulate the themes we uncovered during our contextual inquiry. Using a whiteboard, we listed several characters (e.g tourist, established professional) and assigned them attributes (e.g. gender, age, quirks) beneath their descriptive names (e.g elderly person).
By a process of combination and elimination, which involved trying to be as realistic as we could without creating blatant stereotypes, we wittled the number of characters down to eight: a high school student, a college student, a young professional, an established professional, a blue collar worker, a single parent, a bus driver and an elderly person.
After sufficient attributes had been assigned to each persona sketch, we arbitarily assigned team members characters to flesh out with a background story, a scenario of the character using (or not using) public transit and a list of goals for the character. We decided to try writing in the first person for more authenticity - if this does not work out, we will rewrite in the third person.[top]
In developing our personas, we first considered our restated goal for this project: "motivate people who could individually drive a car for any particular trip to instead use rideshare, take public transit, walk, or ride a bike." We worked to prepare a variety of personas that are representative of the various transit users with whom we talked. One noticeable ommission is the lack of emphasis on transit-dependent users. Because we cannot hope to get transit-dependent users to take public transit instead of driving -- they are already using transit, walking, or bicycling for 100% of trips -- we only prepared one persona representative of that group. Beyond the users, we did prepare a bus driver persona, as we feel that transit operators are an important component of the public transit experience.
Among the remaining users, we cover a broad range of goals and demographics. Indeed, on first inspection, the breadth of user needs and wants may appear to be unmanageable for a short design project. This is a possibility to which we are open, and in deciding what to design for this project, we may focus on a small subset of these personas. Still, we feel that it is important to begin broad, and hope that even if we design for one set of users, we honor and respect the needs of the others -- encouraging some users to utilize public transit more while pushing another set of users to drive more would not achieve our goals.[top]
Below are the personas we created. Based on these personas we conducted our first brainstorming session which yielded about 100 ideas. We decided to sleep on a couple which we identified as showing potential in hopes of expanding on them or using them as jumping boards for better, newer ideas.
Without further ado, meet:
- Alexander Rice, Attorney and Father of Three
- Alexis Sullivan, Young Professional
- Emil Nicolae Popescu, International College Student
- Ethel, 72 Year Old Grandmother
- Mackenzie Nalteen, High School Student
- Mellisa Fitzgerald, Single Mother of Four Year Old Jacob
- Zachariah Ableson, Factory worker
- Rita Merlo, Bus Driver