Effectiveness of Persona with Personality Traits on Conceptual Design

Author(s): Farshid Anvari, Deborah Richards, Michael Hitchens, Muhammad Ali Babar
Venue: 2015 IEEE/ACM 37th IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: May 2015

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 46
Class/Experience Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student
Participant Selection: Undergraduate and Graduate student told to perform tasks
Data Collection Method: Survey


This study advocates the use of holistic personas in the conceptual design process of software in order to tailor software to be more user friendly.

The intention of the study was to inspect how "students tailor their designs according to the personality traits of personas" and whether or not "students correctly identify the intended personality traits of a persona". The study involved a total of 46 students, 23 undergraduate students at Macquarie University (Australia) and 23 graduate students at IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark). The study was carried out by giving the students four design activities with four different personas that were very similar but had tweaks to their personality (emotional stability, introvert/extrovert). After the design activities the students were given a questionnaire in order to assess their understanding of the persona and how they tailored their design towards the persona's personality.

According to the researchers, the "results suggest that the Holistic Personas can help students to take into account personality traits in the conceptual design process." However due to the small sample size of the study, further research is necessary. The researchers acknowledge that since the study was conducted in two different cultures, the students interpretations of the personas may be affected.