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: Case Study
Sample Size: 46
Class/Experience Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student
Participant Selection: Students in two classes (one Australian, one Danish) who volunteered with no course credit offered
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


This study looks at the effects of a persona with personality traits on a conceptual design. It asks if personality traits were correctly identified from a persona, if the students tailor their design to personality traits, and if they considered the personality traits in their design in a way that is in-depth or supported by literature.

Students were given a series of tasks, which included questionnaires, assessment of personality traits and personas, and design activities for the personas. The personas had extroversion/introversion and emotional stability/instability as variable personality traits. Through the assessment of these personas, the data shows that students were generally able to correctly identify the intended personality traits of the given personas. Surveying found that a majority of students believed that their designs were affected by the personality traits of the persona. The qualitative data supports this notion by saying that 74% of the participants considered personality traits when creating design, but only 26% of the students created designs which were in-depth in regards to addressing or incorporating personality traits. An example of an in-depth design was a design that had comments that matched up with an existing study which found that emotionally unstable women seek information online anonymously. The study concludes that people can identify personality traits when given a persona, but the study was inconclusive in determining if personality traits can inherently add depth to a concept design.