When Personas Are Not Needed

When are personas not needed? Perhaps in many cases, but one example is Netflix. See this picture: In situation like this, when recommendations or personalizations can be made automatically at scale, there seems to be no need for an additional aggregation layer such as personas. Personas are only needed if we start asking collective, not …

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Helping Professionals Select Persona Interview Questions Using Natural Language Processing

Personas are often created based on user interviews. Yet, researchers rarely make their interview questions publicly available or justify how they were chosen. In this research, lead by Joni Salminen, we manually extract 276 interview questions and categorize them into 10 themes. The 10 theme taxonomy was created based on abduction, i.e., a qualitative technique …

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Think-Aloud Surveys – A Method for Eliciting Enhanced Insights During User Studies

In a user experiment, we tried out a novel data collection approach consisting of combining surveys with the think-aloud method. We coin the phrase “think-aloud survey method”, where participants think-aloud while completing a questionnaire. We analyzed the transcripts and found that the think-aloud survey provides deeper insights into the reasoning behind the participants’ Likert scale …

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NLP vs. HCI Personas: What’s the Difference?

Research has found that the concept of “persona” is predominantly deployed in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) studies, but there is a stream of Natural Language Processing (NLP) studies that also refer to the concept of persona. This post aims at making a conceptual distinction in these two different types of referring to personas.

Measuring personas or persona sets?

Research has focused on measuring persona perceptions, i.e., what users think of personas they are shown. These efforts can focus on individual personas, i.e., we show a persona or two to the user and ask their opinions about the persona’s usefulness, completeness, credibility, and so (see the Persona Perception Scale). However, persona sets (i.e., groups …

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Comparing Persona Analytics and Social Media Analytics for a User-Centric Task Using Eye-Tracking and Think-Aloud

We compare a data-driven persona system and an analytics system for efficiency and effectiveness for a user identification task. Findings from the 34-participant experiment show that the data-driven persona system affords faster task completion, is easier for users to engage with, and provides better user identification accuracy. Eye-tracking data indicates that the participants focus most …

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User Tasks for Empirical Persona Research

When planning persona studies and experiments, one challenging aspect is task creation. In other words, what do we ask the participants to do with the personas? I’m writing this post to provide some answers to this perennial question of persona task design.