Who is the typical user of SONAR?personas · user interface · user-centered design
An important task of the SONAR project is to conceive a user-friendly interface. We decided to structure this process according to the five elements of J.J. Garrett1. Firstly, define the strategy of your product, and then its scope, its structure, its skeleton and finally its surface.
Defining the typical user of SONAR is part of the element scope (user needs). To this aim, we adopted a method based on personas.
What is a persona?
The persona is a well-known concept in the interaction design community. It was introduced 1999 by Alan Cooper2, who defines it as follows:
We make up pretend users and design for them. We call these pretend users personas and they are the necessary foundation of good interaction design. Personas are not real people, but they represent them throughout the design process. They are hypothetical archetypes of actual users. Although they are imaginary, they are defined with significant rigor and precision. Actually, we don’t so much “make up” our personas as discover them as a byproduct of the investigation process. We do, however, make up their names and personal details.
The 3 main SONAR personas
Each persona is presented below with an image, a name, some minimal context information and the tasks he/she performs on SONAR. Some institutions are mentioned, but only as examples, to make the personas more concrete. The tasks are listed for both services: the shared and the dedicated portals (as described in the Service section).
Student (University of Kinshasa)
|Shared or dedicated portal
Post-doctoral researcher (University of Fribourg - with dedicated SONAR portal)
Librarian (Università della Svizzera italiana - with dedicated SONAR portal)
3 other personas, not detailed in this blog post, complete the scope of user needs:
- Corinna, professor and researcher at University of Basel (without dedicated SONAR portal)
- Gaston, information specialist at SNSF
- Ruth, journalist at Neue Zürcher Zeitung
And now what?
This work is still in progress and we are improving iteratively the personas. Based on this, we defined the functional specifications, with various detailed scenarios for each persona. We are currently working on the structure of the portal and conceiving the mockups of the interface.
We are also using this approach for the sister project RERO ILS.
- GARRETT, Jesse James. The elements of user experience: user-centered design for the web. Berkeley CA : New Riders, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7357-1202-7. [return]
- COOPER, Alan. The inmates are running the asylum: why high-tech products drive us crazy and how to restore the sanity. Indianapolis, In : Macmillan, 1999. ISBN 978-0-672-31649-4. [return]