Interview Questions for Persona Development

1 Jul 2009 - 3:55pm
5 years ago
5 replies
5624 reads
Andrea Richeson
2008

As part of an independent study project (U Texas iSchool student),
I'm developing personas to help guide the BBA site redesign efforts.
I have access to a wealth of demographic, survey and web analytics
information and also plan to speak to the undergraduate program
office about their perceptions of the site and its users.

Please send your advice about what questions to ask (undergraduate
business school students) when doing interviews for persona
development. I hope to tease out user goals and behaviors. Examples
would help.

Possible questions, so far:

Why do you come the the site?
What do you do when you come to the site?
How do you find information on the site?
What are the things you like most about the site?
What do you like the least about the site?
What would you most like to change about the site?
Is the site easy to use?
Are there other business school sites that you find particularly
useful?

Thanks,
Andrea

Comments

1 Jul 2009 - 5:27pm
Audrey Crane
2009

Andrea, I find more open-ended experience/storytelling questions to be
more useful, for example:

Can you tell me about the last time you visited the site?
Can you think of a time when you couldn't find what you were looking
for on the site?
What was your best experience with the site?

(I think these better than what do you like best/least or self
reporting in answer to "what do you do". Gets more to experience
and goals, and it's more specific. If you'd like, you can ask them
to show you as they tell the story. I think you can make your whole
list into questions more like this.)

Also if you're making personas you want to know:
- how much time on the internet
- home page
- favorite sites
- kind of computer
- search v. browse
- you ever use a handheld device to access information on the
internet?
- when did you first use the site (you want to see lifecycle stuff)

Good luck!

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1 Jul 2009 - 10:12pm
Anonymous

Hi Andrea,

All of your questions foucs on the site. If you want to develop
personas, don't forget to also ask questions about them: try to
learn about who they are, what are their ambitions, motivations,
what's important to them, what do they value.

This will help you to get a broader picture of your users and then
you can write personas about them, rather than about them using the
site (you can use scenarios for that).

Hope this helps,

Suze.

Suze Ingram
User Experience Consultant

suze.ingram at gmail.com
@suzeingram
http://suzeingram.blogspot.com/
http://www.linkedin.com/in/suzeingram

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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1 Jul 2009 - 6:48pm
Hilary Bienstock
2009

Andrea,

I think the questions you ask are a great start, but before you get to those questions that are specifically about websites, I'd ask more general questions.

Start out by asking them a little bit about their lives, their routines, etc. Then go on to questions more specifically about grad school:

- Why are you thinking of going to grad school?
- What do you already know? Where did you get your information from?
- What questions do you have in general?
- What schools are you considering? How have you done your research on them?

Try to get at more generally, what is important to them. Focusing your questions only on websites may cause you to miss some important factors.

Hilary

Hilary User Experience
Hilary Bienstock, Principal

hilary at hilaryue.com :: 310.883.5818 :: fax 310.829.2839

________________________________
From: Andrea Richeson <andrea.richeson at cpa.state.tx.us>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 6:55:36 AM
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Interview Questions for Persona Development

As part of an independent study project (U Texas iSchool student),
I'm developing personas to help guide the BBA site redesign efforts.
I have access to a wealth of demographic, survey and web analytics
information and also plan to speak to the undergraduate program
office about their perceptions of the site and its users.

Please send your advice about what questions to ask (undergraduate
business school students) when doing interviews for persona
development. I hope to tease out user goals and behaviors. Examples
would help.

Possible questions, so far:

Why do you come the the site?
What do you do when you come to the site?
How do you find information on the site?
What are the things you like most about the site?
What do you like the least about the site?
What would you most like to change about the site?
Is the site easy to use?
Are there other business school sites that you find particularly
useful?

Thanks,
Andrea

________________________________________________________________
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2 Jul 2009 - 6:41am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

You might want to consult the book by Jon Pruitt and Tamara Adlin that
goes into detail on entire persona lifecycle. There is a wealth of
information.

http://www.amazon.com/Persona-Lifecycle-Throughout-Interactive-Technologies/dp/0125662513/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246533383&sr=1-1

I'm not sure what the BBA site is for sure but one thing, but one
question I have is "what are the consequences associated with using
the site?" Some university sites may have significant consequences
like the course registration site or the site for applying for
financial aid. You could ask students to describe positive or
negative critical incidents in prior use of the site.

Chauncey

On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 9:55 AM, Andrea
Richeson<andrea.richeson at cpa.state.tx.us> wrote:
> As part of an independent study project (U Texas iSchool student),
> I'm developing personas to help guide the BBA site redesign efforts.
> I have access to a wealth of demographic, survey and web analytics
> information and also plan to speak to the undergraduate program
> office about their perceptions of the site and its users.
>
> Please send your advice about what questions to ask (undergraduate
> business school students) when doing interviews for persona
> development. I hope to tease out user goals and behaviors.  Examples
> would help.
>
> Possible questions, so far:
>
> Why do you come the the site?
> What do you do when you come to the site?
> How do you find information on the site?
> What are the things you like most about the site?
> What do you like the least about the site?
> What would you most like to change about the site?
> Is the site easy to use?
> Are there other business school sites that you find particularly
> useful?
>
> Thanks,
> Andrea
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

2 Jul 2009 - 7:12am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jul 1, 2009, at 1:55 PM, Andrea Richeson wrote:

> Please send your advice about what questions to ask (undergraduate
> business school students) when doing interviews for persona
> development. I hope to tease out user goals and behaviors. Examples
> would help.

Hi Andrea,

Generically, I wrote these articles to talk about focus questions for
this type of research:

Putting Context into Context
http://www.uie.com/articles/putting_context_into_context/

Focus Questions for Field Studies
http://is.gd/1lpB3

and Kate Gomoll & Ellen Story wrote this excellent resource that goes
into depth on the subject:

The Field Study Handbook
http://www.uie.com/reports/field_study_handbook/

However, we've found that you're better off if you don't try to create
generic questions, but instead focus on specific functionality or
content that you're looking at, for instance, online admissions or
course selection. Because personas work best when they describe
behavioral differences, you're team will get the best results if you
think in terms of the behaviors that relate to specific functionality.

Otherwise, you'll run the risk of creating generic personas which
won't easily map to the individual data you've collected. And, in our
research on successful persona implementations, most persona projects
fail when the designers and developers don't adopt the personas
because they are too generic and therefore can't really inform the
design process adequately.

Hope that helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: @jmspool

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