As an assignment for the Analysis and Planning For User-Centered Designcourse at California State University, Fullerton, students were tasked with constructing interview guides, which would then be used for conducting interviews with users that met specified criteria. With the data gathered would be analyzed with an affinity diagram, ultimately allowing the team to create detailed personas that would help guide further designs of the app prototype.
Team: Joshua Kruk, Megan Van Voorhies, Jonathan West
The first step we took as a team was to identify who the target user would be for the proposed application. We ultimately settled on users who met the following criteria:
Listens to at least 1 hour of podcasts
Subscribes to at least one podcast.
Listens to podcasts through a mobile application at least once per month .
Once the target user was established, we worked together to develop an interview guide, which we would all use as a guideline while we conducted out interviews with willing participants. Our questions focused primarily on gathering qualitative data - learning about the listening habits of the users, what sort of content they prefer to listen to, what app(s) do they currently use and why, and in what sort of context do they typically find themselves listening to podcasts.
These interview questions took a top-down approach, starting the interview with a set of warm-up questions to get the participant comfortable, followed by general questions regarding their podcasts listening habits, followed by more specific questions about podcast content and applications. From there, we were sure to include "warm-up" questions, retrospective discussion points, and a post-interview "wrap-up".
After conducting interviews, the team shared collected responses to the interview questions and identified common attributes that fell on a spectrum - this included characteristics like "how important are app features to the user" and "does the user tend to prefer fiction or non-fiction content". By placing these attributes onto an affinity diagram (made with mural.co) and identifying "clusters" of participants, the team would have a foundation with which to develop a document of user personas that represented the primary and secondary audience of the proposed podcast application.
Affinity Diagram With Identified Clusters
Once the team had identified all possible clusters of shared attributes, we gave names to 3 distinct groupings of characteristics - "Andy", "Jen", and "Allison". All 3 individuals enjoy listening to podcasts, but they each have individual habits and preferences that make them unique. By adding additional details to each persona (such as demographics, a brief biography, a "day in the life", a quote, and an image), we further established exactly who the primary and secondary users of the app could be, thereby guiding the entire team forward as they develop the application with the user in mind.