Personas, Task Models and User Journeys

When creating an app (a mobile application, a website or a computer application), it’s very important to figure out a couple key things – what kind of personas you might be dealing with as users, what task models work best for a specific type of task wanting to be accomplished and what kind of an experience we want our users to have.I’ts crucial to keep in mind, that the app you are creating, is not for yourself, but rather to represent you to others, that’s why you have to consider how the user will be interacting with your creation.  To figure these things out we have done a couple exercises.

Firstly, making a task model. In short, a task model is a logical description of actions to be made in order to achieve the user’s end goal; it is useful for designing, analysing and evaluating digital software. It’s very smart to create a couple pages of these before you even fully decide what you want your app to be.

Second, analysing personas. Usually, we would think of what we want in an application and rarely consider what our friends or family might want out of it. We might want a small selection of content but flashy, complex design with autoplay audio and animated GIFs, whereas the next person would prefer a simplistic design, no music and as few extra widgets as possible, so it’s important to determine what kind of a persona you would be dealing with and who your target audience is. So to do this, we each filled in a persona sheet with our own goals and behaviours, switched with each other and tried to come up with “musts” and “must nots” for the other person.

Lastly, we investigated the user journey. It is a set of visible steps that a user goes through to complete a task. It’s different to a task model because it shows and lists user steps, rather than their wants and needs. To explore this part, we set ourselves a goal for an existing website (buying an item on an e-commerce website) and create a graphic of our journeys on these websites as users.

All in all, this was very useful and has really opened my eyes to how much work and thought goes into making an app that is successful and does well with users; you can’t just come up with an idea, load a template up with content and let the app take off – research and analysis is key.

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