The Technology Team uses personas, user stories, and user flows as a way to facilitate discussions with faculty to understand the goal for their digital scholarship project and their intended audience. Most of us have been in a meeting at some point where all attendees are excited about the material but confusion starts to cloud the conversation and frustration sets in because a common vocabulary is missing. In kick off meetings for digital scholarship projects, we have found that implementing user research techniques in a non-traditional way can help stakeholders understand the vision of the project and needed functionality.
Working in collaboration with the project team, we utilize the framework of personas to understand the intended audience. Expanding on the creation of audience personas we define user tasks and goals that should be the basis of exploring the research data. Being able to visually depict user flows can be used as a tool to identify relationships between content and the foundation of the information architecture.
These exercises and visualizations are beneficial for both research and design teams. They create a common language that makes it easier to outline project scope and talk through issues throughout the project timeline.
We use UX methodologies to:
- Create common vocab between researcher(s) and technology team(s)
- Conceptualize the foundation and structure of the research and project
- Map data relationships for both structure and user engagement
- Prompt faculty to identify all the audiences their research is serving
- Provide decision-making for choosing project platform(s)
- Show how data relates to one another in a digital space using meta-data, tagging, categorization, etc.
- Provide low fidelity prototypes that are easy to update before development
- Identify pain points from user perspective
After we present our personas, user stories, and user flows to faculty members at meetings they leave feeling excited and motivated. These tools further the conversation allowing them to see how their work translates into a digital space.