In Week 1, we encouraged you to be a VR user and evaluate VR experiences. You were the first person user of someone else’s planned VR experience. This week, we’ll turn our focus to your target users. However, you will not think about the large group of target users that you could have for your planned VR experience. Instead, you will focus down on just one user-- a fictional user you will create. A fictional user is called a persona. We distill personas down from large groups of people to humanize our target consumers, and give us more specific features of those consumers to plan for in our design. Here is an example of how focusing your thoughts down to one person can improve your decision-making:
Description #1. Shop for a birthday present for an elderly woman living alone.
Description #2. Shop for a birthday present for Mildred, who lives in an upstairs apartment alone, but loves everything to do with frogs. She loves children and every time children visit, she sets them on a journey of counting the images of frogs that she already has in her apartment. She knows that the children will probably not find all of the frog images so she points out a few hidden ones to increase the children’s delight. Every visit is a new adventure.
Of course Description #2 is bigger and more fleshed out but isn’t it easier to figure out what present to buy for Mildred? See how your decision making was more informed when considering a specific person?
In this design process, focusing on one user increases our empathy. By focusing on others, we make better products.
Personas help in all stages of planning and design because a persona helps answer many of the questions that will pop up along the way. Questions like: What does this person get out of this experience? What sorts of devices is this person likely to use? Even: how much money is this type of person willing to pay for this experience?
Good design constantly refers back to the needs, wants, and desires of the user so that the resulting product is exactly tailored to them. In all decisions related to your planned VR experience, ask yourself “what would my persona want here?” Even after the experience has been designed, and built, and is being sold, the target persona is a model you can return to and revise. Were you correct in your assumptions? What feedback are you getting from your real users that you can use to revise that persona?
Assignment instructions: Using the template provided, write a persona and planned VR experience summary. (See Example Persona for Forest HMD David) Post to your website as 2 new pages:
1 page: Persona
Include a fictional photograph, drawing, or figure representing your user. Create a fake name. Include details about this person that others working on your planned VR experience would need. Think about your Persona user type - what role does this persona play within the planned VR experience? Are they the hero? Do they merely observe? What do they do inside the experience? Determine your Persona’s prior experience and comfort with VR. Is your user totally comfortable entering VR for your experience or will this be one of their first times experiencing this format? Include any specific technology specs.
2 pages: Summary with Narrative Plot of (Planned VR Experience)
Using the template, fill in the narrative plot, emotional moods, degree of presence and agency. Include details on sound and movement if you plan on having those in your experience. This should not be more than three total written pages of text.