Persona Stories: Weaving Together Qualitative and Quantitative for a Richer Picture

Date: February 5, 2014
Whitney Quesenbery,

Whitney QuesenberyStories have power to add empathy and connection to our work. They can help us learn about people, culture, and context—why, when, and how our products might be used—and share this with a design team. Stories permeate UX techniques from user stories to storyboards. They come to full power when used with personas: the persona provides a fully envisioned lead character for the story, a perspective through which interactions can be explored, and a voice for the emotional reactions to design ideas.

Creating stories for personas is a craft. They are not fiction, but are grounded in the data and user research that informs the persona. They are not fact, but are imagined events, shaped to explore possibilities. They are realistic, but not perhaps real, because they represent not just one individual or event, but something that might happen, and that provides insights into a user experience.

We’ll look at some structures that are helpful in crafting persona stories. And at questions like whether to write in first, second, or third person—and when each is valuable. We’ll create a quick story and share it, showing how impromptu stories can help in design sessions.

About the Speaker
Whitney Quesenbery (@whitneyq) combines a fascination with people and an obsession to communicate clearly with her goal of bringing user research insights to designing products where people matter.” She’s written three books on the subject—Storytelling for User Experience, Global UX: Design and research in a connected world, and A Web for Everyone—to help practitioners keep users in mind throughout the creative process.

She’s also passionate about civic design and the power of UX in democracy. Whitney has worked with election officials on usability and design of ballots and other election materials. She is a co-author of two influential Brennan Center reports that show just how much design matters in elections. She runs the Center for Civic Design with Dana Chisnell.

Before she was seduced by a little beige computer into software, usability, and interface design, Whitney was a theatrical lighting designer on and off Broadway, learning about storytelling from some of the masters.

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Persona Stories: Weaving Together Qual and Quant for a Richer Picture from CHIFOO Communications on Vimeo.