How would you design a kitchen? – tres

continued from dos..

Once the requirements are gathered, constraints are taken into account and the mental model of the user is understood, you would have laid a solid foundation to start talking about key user-types and the scenarios in which the product/object is likely to be used the most.

It is important to identify key user-types, commonly known as "personas". Jonathan Grudin and John Pruit has written a detailed explanation of participatory design and personas here. My friend from User Research at Microsoft – Lada Gorlenko gave me a quick primer on various types of personas. In her words:

·         Primary personas (by definition) are users for who we are trying to optimize the interface. They are the primary user target and should be completely satisfied by the interface. 

·         Secondary personas are less important target users who can be largely (but not entirely) satisfied by the interface. They may have a few additional needs that we may or may not want or have resources to address. If we are addressing the special needs of secondary personas, we must make sure that these needs do not get in the way of the primary persona. An interface can have zero to two-three secondary personas.

·         Supplementary personas are personas who are not the primary target, but are completely satisfied by the interface anyway: they need a subset of what the interface has to offer or their needs for that particular product are similar to the needs of primary personas. They are kind of personas who are killed by the same stone as the primary ones as by-product J

·         Customer personas are those who choose and buy the product rather than use it.

·         Served personas do not use the product, but are affected by the use, they are “passengers in the car” rather than drivers, if you design a car dashboard. In our world, helpdesks are often server personas; they may not use our products as such, but they troubleshoot them.

·         Negative are personas we specifically do not design for. “Matches are not for small kids” kind of personas J

While following the design template, during PM interviews, it is a good idea to talk about at least three personas – primary, secondary and negative personas. This exercise will give you a comprehensive understanding about various potential users and will help make your design more complete.

For instance, you may say that primary persona for a kitchen on a train is Leona Nordic, who is the main chef in the kitchen and is responsible for deciding the menu as well as cooking. Mentioning full names of the personas help in adding empathy/realism to your statements. Seconday persona would be Peter Jardin, who is a server on the train and negative persona would be Tom Dickens who is a passenger and is less likely to enter the kitchen.

Personas lay a foundation for defining your scenarios, which are core to any design. The key in describing scenarios is to call out two or three most basic and frequent use cases of the product/object in question. For instance, one scenario for kitchen on a train could be – Leona prepares a sandwich and heats water for tea for a customer. High order bit here is to focus on the most basic scenario.

You may summarize the scenarios to define the core mission/vision statement for your design problem, before digging in the actual design. Defining the personas and scenarios should take about four to five minutes during the interview.

Let’s design for people!


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2 thoughts on “How would you design a kitchen? – tres

  1. How would you design a kitchen? – cuatro (final)

    Continued from tres … After spending the first 12 minutes of a design interview for a program/product

  2. Hai,
    I’m very interested with the definition of the primary personas.
    Could you please tell me more about this topic?

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