The Libraries Australia Search Redevelopment (LASR) project is based on a user-centred design (UCD) methodology. Fundamental to UCD is to have a good understanding of the types of people who use LA search, what they use it for, and under what conditions they use it. At the start of the project, Joanna (our Business Analyst) and I visited a number of representative libraries and observed actual LA search users working on their day to day tasks. We collated our observations and notes gathered from the site visits and combined these with other user information including user feedback, survey results, issue logs and anecdotes to create a picture of the different types of LA search users. We then summarised this research into set of user profiles or personas which are fictitious 'stand in' characters that represent the motivations, expectations and goals of larger groups of LA search users.
Each member of the project team has a set of the personas on their desk as a reminder of who we're building LA search for. When we make design decisions we often refer to the personas to double check that what we're proposing is actually going to improve their user experience. Personas also help us educate people outside of the direct project team about our users and can help us champion their cause.
If we've done our user research correctly you should hopefully be able to identify yourself with at least one of our LASR personas [Download LASR Personas - PDF 5Mb]
A short note about our blog: We're hoping the LASR project blog will help to inform and share the design process with our users. Often users are delivered a new system with no opportunity to provide feedback or for the project team to be able to explain why certain design decisions are made. We're hoping to make this a more open process starting now. We read and consider all comments made on this blog however due to the time constraints we won't be able to respond to everyone.