By Sabine Madsen, Lene Nielsen
In this paper we explore the persona-scenario method as a means for requirements determination. More specifically, we investigate how the method can support groups of diverse ISD project participants in constructing and presenting multiple stories that complement each other in generating many, new, and shared understandings and design ideas. As persona-scenarios are stories about personas using IT systems we draw on narrative theory to define what a persona-scenario is and which narrative elements it should consist of. The conceptual clarification is used as an analytical lens for understanding an empirical study of a workshop that was held as a part of a large project concerned with redesign of an e-report portal for Danish governmental bodies. The aim of the workshop was to develop persona-scenarios about the future use of e-reports. Continue reading
Sabine Madsen, Department of Informatics, CBS, Howitzvej 60, 2000 Frederiksberg, Sma.email@example.com
Lene Nielsen, Snitker & Co., Bredgade 21B, 2160 Copenhagen K, firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of this paper is to understand how and what types of innovation that occur when using the persona/narrative scenario method for IT redesign. The paper reports from a one-day workshop held as a part of a large project concerned with redesign of an e-report portal for Danish governmental bodies. The aim of the workshop was to generate narrative scenarios about the future use of e-reports based on already developed personas. The research shows that: a) innovation occurs as the conversation unfolds and that the unfolding conversation is structured by the participants’ focus on the persona, the scenario assignment, and existing IT oriented artifacts, b) barriers for innovation emerge in the form of the participants’ reliance on existing artifacts, lack of exploration of the obstacles the persona might encounter, and their problems capturing insights and ideas in writing, c) different approaches to scenario development generate different levels of abstraction and empathy and that these levels seem to relate to the types of innovation that occurs, i.e. IT design ideas and/or understanding of users. Based on the research findings, areas for future research are proposed.
The end goal of using personas is to, so to speak, let the persona enter a scenario and this way explore the interactions and design through the eyes of the persona.Scenarios do not possess a single definition and in the literature a wide range of different scenarios are mentioned. They serve different purposes and are to be used at different points in the design process. Sabine Madsen and I have tried to get an overview of the different kinds of scenarios, mentioned in the current literature.
In my experience the biggest challenge is between problem scenarios (springboard stories, point of pain stories) and idea generating scenarios (context scenarios, key scenarios). I often find the describing the present problems in a scenario disturbs the idea generation and the possibility to clean the slate. This prevents knowledge that the problems and challenges might not be with the system, but in the context. Or that an IT system might not be the answers to the problem, – (e.g. writing a proper manual, as I have encountered in connection to a system). Problem scenarios are really good at pointing to problems with the present system and creates space for creating solutions to these problems.