That the students process and use the collected knowledge to understand the user(s) by creating and describing a series of fictive persons, who will serve as a basis for the further development of their Design to Improve Life solution.
A Persona is a fictive user profile that represents the primary users and interested parties related to the challenge.
The Personas are thus a simplified version of the primary user and interested party, and the students must – using clippings from magazines and newspapers – visualize different types of Personas, who are a part of their challenge. Each design team draws 2-3 Persona templates as instructed and then split up into 2-3 smaller groups, who will each create a Persona. The Persona is created after the groups have discussed the different sections of the Persona template.
Now, the Persona is visualized. This is done by the group by drawing, by writing and by gluing clippings onto the different sections of the template to characterize it. It is important that the Personas give a nuanced picture of different users based on the conducted field work, and that the design team can agree on which types of people the Personas represent.
Precise and thorough Personas are a great foundation for the continuous work with understanding and identifying the user’s needs in relation to the challenge the design team is working with.
* The technique is inspired by Arnold Wassermann and Ideafactory.
Using this technique, the students reflect upon the experiences that they already have in relation to the chosen challenge, and how these experiences can be used forwardly when looking towards an actual solution to the challenge.
The 1st part of the technique is conducted individually and focuses on the left side of the diagram – from the past until now. Each student is given/draws a Heart Diagram on an A4 sheet themselves and write their challenge in the middle of the heart.
The next step is to brainstorm individually about which specific good or bad experiences they have (or solutions they know) about the challenge – and here, they are allowed to use the information they have collected from their field- and research work. These experiences/ solution examples should be about what the concrete experiences/solution examples were, and not why they were good or bad.
Three specific good experiences/solution examples are written in the top left quarter of the diagram, and three specific bad experiences/solution examples are written in the bottom left quarter of the diagram.
The 2nd part of the technique is conducted as interviews and focuses on the right side of the template – the future. The students interview each other in pairs about the experiences/solution examples they have noted in the template’s left side, and now the focus is on why the solution was good or bad, and how these experiences can be used in relation to the solution that is going to be developed/created. What the students are trying to achieve with the solution is written in the top right quarter of the template, and what they want to avoid is written in the bottom right quarter of the template.
The filled-out templates are now finished Heart Diagrams which are presented to the whole team and hung on the wall.
Persona and Heart Diagram both require a thorough introduction – the teacher should explain to the students why it needs to be done, and how it can be used in the design process.
Part 1 (2 lessons)
- Distribution of magazines and materials and drawing of three Persona templates per design team.
- Each design team creates (together) three Personas using clippings from magazines, cartoons and text (see approach).
Part 2 (1 lesson)
- The students brainstorm individually about good and bad experiences/examples of solutions to the challenge (see approach).
- The students interview each other in couples about why their experiences/solutions are good or bad (see approach).
- The teams present their diagrams to each other and hang them up on the wall.