Boise State OPWL Webinar: Personas at Albertsons Library: Avoiding Click Here Instruction


STEVE VILLLACHICA: Welcome
to this Talking Shop webinar sponsored by Boise State’s
Organizational Performance and Workplace
Learning department. It’s my privilege to introduce
our guests today, doctors Amy Vecchione, Deana
Brown, and Hans Aagard. One of our OPWL
graduates, Linda Urban, brought us together to
talk about how personas might help Boise State’s
Albertson’s Library improve its website. Much of the work we draw upon
in the advanced instructional design course comes from
folks in software development development,
especially from people that draw on the user
experience literature to create websites that let
people do valued things. Our presenters today
are doing just that. During their time with
us, Amy, Deana, and Hans will address the
following topics; they’ll describe the
reasons why their team is using personas in addition
to prototyping and usability testing. They’ll share their
work in progress and the team’s lessons
learned, and they’ll answer your questions. We’re delighted to
have you with us today. AMY VECCHIONE: The title
of this is Personas at Albertson’s Library–
Avoiding Click Here Instruction, and first
I’ll introduce myself, and then I’ll Deana and
Hans say a little bit about who they are. I am a library leader for
digital access to resources and the digital
access librarian, which is a complicated
title, so just think of me as digital library person. I’m a dog owner. I have a beagle mix,
and we go hiking a lot. I have a wild toddler
who keeps me very busy, and we spend a lot of time
hiking in the high desert. DEANA BROWN: Hey, my
name’s Deana Brown, and I’ve been working
in libraries since 2004. I just started here at
Boise State in February, and I am the liaison to the
Psychology and Philosophy departments. My undergraduate
degree is in Fine Art, so I’m very interested
in UX issues because I get to flex my design
background a little bit when I do that. I also have two dogs
and enjoy the Beatles. I’m opposed to Elvis,
but I feel like it’s one of those divisive issues
with people, and pirates definitely, not ninjas. HANS AAGARD: So my
name is Hans Aagard. I’m an instructional designer
for the Boise State Albertson’s Library. I’ve been here about two years. I worked in training
for about two years. I started when I was an
undergraduate doing software training for the
faculty and staff at my undergrad institution. I’m a media nut–
movies, TV, music, all sorts of things like that. And right now I am nearing
the end of a long PhD process at Purdue
University in Indiana, and I’m hoping to graduate
in December, although, knock on wood when I say that. AMY VECCHIONE: So I’m going
to start a little bit here by telling you some of the
library’s website journey– why we came up with
personas in the first place. If you’re not familiar
with libraries, libraries are pretty special. Our websites are special. They coordinate with over
300 different vendors. And so I wanted to
start by showing you what our website looked like. It was pretty great when
I first started working as a digital access librarian. This is what it looked like. It is a list of
links, and this list of links with these
categories at the top had essentially been the same
categories and the same lists for years prior. I’ve used the Internet Archive
Wayback Machine to track back how long these lists
had been there, and they’d been there since
the beginning of the library’s website. So we’ve tried a bunch of
things over the years looking at Google Analytics. I’ll talk a little bit more
about that in a second. Let me show you what the
website looks like now. We’ve scaled down
the number of links and tried to put the
most important things front and center, and this
was a significant improvement. And what always surprises
me is how, as time passes, there’s always more improvements
to be made based on user expectations, so now,
even, when I look at this, I see that it already
looks outdated, and it’s ready to be
upgraded to what users really need I’ll explain a little
bit more about that. In the past we made
decisions based on what we thought needed to be there. So this graph is something that
Deana brought to my attention. It’s a User Experience Self
Awareness Spectrum, and what it basically tells me is
that in terms of the website we have advanced
to stage two here, which is self-referential,
where we make decisions based on what we think
needs to be on the website, and we’ve conducted
usability tests. You’re probably familiar
with those kinds of tests. You put someone in a room
with a computer, laptop, mobile device, what have you. You assign them a
task, and you watch what they do to try to think
about how they would complete that task, and then you make
improvements based on that. In traditional usability
testing about five users, when you test with them,
will tell you enough. So we’ve spent a considerable
amount of that over the years, but it only brought us to a
certain level of understanding about the website. At least we were no longer
making primary decisions about what the
squeaky wheel wanted to believe needed
to be on the website or what we spent
the most money on. Those are important
things to think about, but we really want to think
about it from the point of view of our user. DEANA BROWN: And let me just
add that part of the process that we determined was
important at this point at these early
stages of us starting to use UX principles here
as they apply to the website was communicating back to
our internal stakeholders– so communicating back to
other people on campus and even our colleagues
within the library. This was a pretty
big shift in the way that the library
was designed, and we wanted to make sure that we were
being really transparent in how these new decisions
we’re going to be made and to also introduce
the idea UX to people and kind of carry them
along on the journey with us rather than
springing it on them and having them not
understand why we were making these decisions
based on data now rather than how they had been. And that was something
that I learned when I took a
series of UX classes from an online library learning
site called Library Juice, and it was a series
of six classes that were all about user
experience, and so that was my introduction
to user experience. And they really
did stress that you want to make sure that people
understanding what you’re doing because this can be kind
of a new concept for people. AMY VECCHIONE: There’s an added
bonus about what Deana just explained, too, which is if you
look on the spectrum, number five, that’s where the user
experience decisions are distributed throughout
the entire library, and it’s a user
experience culture. So we are in an
area that oversees the web and instructional
design, so the digital areas, but if everyone in the library
incorporated user experience principles, basically,
thinking about how the user would use them, then
we would have this distributed strategy. This slide I included
from a presentation called Usability and
UX for Libraries. It puts the same spectrum
in place but in terms of how libraries view it, and I
think this says it really well. If you look at stage one,
this is where we were; “decisions are made based
on staff’s preferences, management’s pet projects,
and user experience is rarely discussed.” And I think we’re getting into
like a 2.5-type of territory here, which is kind of exciting. There’s one or two UX champion
who bring up users’ needs regularly, and
decisions are made based on usability principles. And so here is the group of
people who are now bringing up user experience principles on
a regular basis; Hans Aagard, you know him, he just
introduced himself. Beth Allen, she’s our web
developer, Deana, and myself. So Deana’s in Reference and
Instruction, and the rest of us are in the Digital Access unit,
so there’s a really nice bridge there. Hans, were you going
to talk about the role of the instructional designer? HANS AAGARD: Yeah, so, as
an instructional designer, I feel like one of the
helpful things that I can do is connect the instruction that
we’re doing with the revisions that we’re making on the website
because those two often really inform each other. The changes that we
make on the website, if we make things easier on the
website, if we make it easier for students and faculty
to do what they need to do, then we can reduce the
instruction of the website itself, so we don’t have to
teach how to use the website, where to click. We can teach some of
the other skills that are harder, things like
information literacy, how to distinguish good
articles from bad articles, how to brainstorm, how to
put together a good search. DEANA BROWN: And as an
instructor on the team, I definitely
appreciate that shift of rather than
teaching people where to click, helping them develop
their own critical thinking goals. HANS AAGARD: And that’s
something actually, and Amy may touch on this later,
that this summer we’re actually in a position where we’re
able– there’s sort of been a gradual shift that the
instructor initially was like, here’s the website. And then last year was a little
more, here’s the website, and here’s some other skills. And we’re hoping this year
to actually move all the web stuff out of the face-to-face
classroom in videos, and then use that
precious face-to-face time for these other skills. And so that’s been kind of– if
the website’s in better shape and if it’s easier
for people to use, then it’s easier to
not feel like we have to teach the website in class. We can focus on other stuff. So that’s kind of been my role. DEANA BROWN: I’m really
excited about this because I have been hoping to
get to this point for awhile, and I’m just so thrilled
that this is where we are. But here’s how we got
there, because this doesn’t happen overnight. We started by
looking at the data. We used a LibQUAL, that’s
what we call the main library comparison survey. It’s kind of a horrible survey. You may have taken it. You may take it this
fall when it goes out. It’s long, and it
doesn’t tell us a lot. I’ll show you the
data we get from it. I use Google Analytics
a great deal, the facts and figures
from Boise State, and the ECAR Study of
Undergraduate Students from EDUCAUSE. If you’re not
familiar with that, it has a lot of
useful data in there. This is what Google
Analytics user behavior looks
like, I’m not sure that you’ll understand this. I’ll try to explain
a little bit. It’s telling me here that
most of our incoming traffic comes from the
United States, some from Germany, United
Kingdom, et cetera, and of that group
of people, they start on the library’s
website, on our starting pages, primarily the index page. That’s the large
green one at the top, and then there’s some other
pages that get some hits, but nothing like the
libraries index page. And then, if you see that
red line off to the right, it says that the
majority [INAUDIBLE] Google Analytics means that
somebody left the website. So here’s the trick about that. If you look at the
library’s website, anytime they click
on a database link, that counts as a drop off. I don’t have control over
those 300 different vendors. So I had a real problem;
I couldn’t actually ascertain where users were
going through the website. If you think about
it like Amazon, they can watch
everything that you do, and they send cookies all over
the place so they can track. If you’ve looked at a tube of
toothpaste, on another website, they know that you were
at Target’s website. I don’t have that information. And this is another view
from Google Analytics. You can see those peaks
are the week days, and the values are the weekends. That little tiny
hump is spring break, and you can see June and the
summer starting over here. This is another view of
looking at Google Analytics. What we did here was we
track how everybody clicks. We put a little tag on
every piece of the website to track how users were
clicking on which database so that we now know the
majority of our users– this is what we know now– when
they’re looking at our tabs, the majority of them may
be going to databases, articles tab, article search. We don’t need to get
into the details here. I’m just trying
to show you we now know how people are
clicking around the website. Did I skip over something? I feel like I did. AMY VECCHIONE: So
here’s our process. We collected some of this data. We started looking at personas. We had learned about
them at some conferences, and Deana had learned about it
at the Library Juice Academy. We met with Dr.
Steve Villachica, and he taught us
more about persona, which really blew our
minds because we determined how we can use data to
develop these personas to make them really effective. We then saw where we
had some data gaps, and we redeveloped
the personas, and it’s been kind of an iterative
process and a nice cycle that we’ve been through. We now know what we don’t know. It’s a little bit more
than we knew before. And this is an example of
the library quality survey information. What this diagram tells
you is if you see red, that means it’s bad. It means that it’s
something that’s been perceived as less
than the minimum criteria. If there’s something green,
that means that the service is greater than desired. So the users that fill
out this form– there’s no green on here. I would say that’s
also a warning sign. But it doesn’t tell you too
much about what that means. IC2 is in red. There’s a little bit of red. That’s the website. It means that– I think it
was negative 1.4%, Here it is; a library website enabling me
to locate information on my own. That was one of the only red
items on the LibQUAL survey telling me that it was
not working as desired . But we also have the ECAR data
saying that the number three most important
thing on the campus is access to library resources,
and 30% of those users said that the library
website was very important. So that’s what we had before
we started using personas. Deana, do you want to talk
about this part– the facts and figures? DEANA BROWN: Yeah, in
trying to go in and fill in some of those data gaps,
we had– the Google Analytics is fantastic for telling
us what people are actually doing on the website, but a good
chunk of developing personas is actually figuring
out who the people are that are using the website. So to just start with some
really basic information, we started to gather data about
who’s here at Boise State, and the facts and
figures information that’s available
from Boise State was a great place
to get started. It tells us the
highest enrollment in different programs,
ages of typical students, if they’re from here,
or from out of state, out of the country. So we were able to start kind
of pulling some information out of the facts and
figures table to start developing our personas. So once we finished
looking at that, we kind of combined the facts
and figures into a table, and this is what we were
looking at when we wanted to start pulling out people. And, as you can see,
the greatest number of students on campus
are undergraduates, so we knew that we
definitely wanted to focus on that segment to
make sure that our services were the most useful for them. And this is where we kind of
came back to one of the things that Steve said, when
we were talking to him, was the idea of connecting the
data with the facts and figures that we had from the
University, and bringing those two together really felt to
us that these were becoming real people. And rather than being
self-referential and just kind of going off of our gut of
who we thought was here, we could actually point to
these different pieces of data and say, no, this is actually
based on this information that we gathered,
and it really helps us to feel empowered in
talking about our personas with other people because we
could point to data to back up. And also incorporating that
data into the persona pages themselves, which we’ll
show you in a second, that way, when
stakeholders, people outside of our work group
are looking at it, they have easy
access to that data and can go click to
it directly if it’s something that’s available
online was really important. HANS AAGARD: Can I
chime in for a sec? DEANA BROWN: Definitely. HANS AAGARD: One of the
things that I noticed or that I started thinking
about when we were spending a lot of time on
the website is his why would we have a whole team
focus just on the website? Is it that important? Why are we moving stuff around? And the truth is part of
this is we’ve had a shift. We have a lot more people
looking at the website than we have coming
into the library. And so part of this process is
sort of iterating and shifting and saying, OK, well, the
data indicates more people are looking at stuff online. Some students are never coming
into the library itself. They’re getting all
their stuff online. And so we have to take the
website, which I think maybe, initially, was not taken as
seriously, a lot more seriously and then and then make
decisions based on that. DEANA BROWN: Definitely,
which leads me into my next slide, which was us
deciding what tasks these users would be doing, and us
sitting down as a group and brainstorming
what sorts of things these people would be doing
when they came to the website. We realized that
almost every user that comes to the library’s
website at some point is going to be looking
for an article. since this was our first
go of applying personas to the website, we
decided to focus on one task that was going
to have the greatest impact, rather than finding different
tasks for each persona to be completing. So we decided to go with
finding an article in one of the library’s databases. AMY VECCHIONE: Can I
jump in real quick? DEANA BROWN: Yeah. AMY VECCHIONE: I want to
say that through the data, we are able to ascertain– what
the library’s traditionally known for is books, right? Everyone thinks
that’s our brand. They think books– libraries. In reality, from
evaluating this data, we were able to
learn that it’s only that people search for books
in the first four weeks of the semester, and my
hypothesis– I have not proven this to be true, but I would
guess that those individuals are looking for textbooks. And we also now know, based on
the data that we’ve collected, that the majority of our
users are undergraduates, like a significant
majority of undergraduates, are who are using the
library’s website. And so we have a
lot more information to gather about how our
other primary users, like yourselves–
graduate students, faculty members– how
you’re locating information. That’s something that we
have a lot to focus on. DEANA BROWN: So
we have our data, and we have an idea of who
these people are going to be. The next thing we
wanted to make sure is that we were actually
thinking like our users as we were going through
this task of trying to find an article
in a database, and that can be really
hard, especially if it’s a task that you have done
a million times over, and it’s something that’s
really easy for you to do, and something you’re
really familiar with. It’s hard to take a
couple steps back and come at it from a completely
different perspective. So a few of the tips
that we had were, pretend like you’re
acting, you are someone else as you’re going
through and doing this task. Having pictures that
related to your personas really helped make them real. We even had the idea of
having a party, where we taped their pictures
onto chairs and sat around and introduced them as if
they were friends of ours to other people on the team. I know, personally,
keeping in mind that this is an
iterative process and that there is no
final ‘yes, we are done’ was really helpful
because personas have evolved through this
process for us, which we aren’t even done with. So as we have gathered
more data and as we have worked as a group,
we have certainly been fine tuning
our personas, so I found that kind of not
being so hard on myself and feeling like I have to
really nail it right off the bat helped me
have that space to develop it and become more
familiar with the personas I moved through there. Also, the fact that
you’re even thinking about having personas
and using them means that you’re already
leaps and bounds ahead of a good chunk of
people, and you’re already trying to think like your user. So we started in
these team meetings, where we were discussing
website issues, asking the question
of, what would Lucy, who’s one of our personas
that we’ll show you here in a second? And how would this person
approach this problem that we’re talking about? And that has really
helped inform our process. AMY VECCHIONE: Yeah, we
literally tape the personas up on the wall and have
them on the tables when we’re talking
about making decisions. DEANA BROWN: So we had
what we felt was this, naively, really
simple task of finding an article in a database. Well, as we started to discuss
how our different personas would go through
this process, we realized this is a
very complicated task, and Hans was awesome and
found this tool on the left and developed this flow
chart that can show just how complicated this task is. So it is not, by any
means, a linear process. Do you want to talk a little
bit about the flow chart, Hans? HANS AAGARD: Yeah, so in
terms of instructional design, you might think about this
is like a task analysis and thinking about the steps
is having knowledge skills and attitudes. One of the goals
that I feel like I have as an
instructional designer is to try and translate
the librarians view, or the librarians understanding
of the website, which is an expert understanding the
website, to novices, who do not have that understanding, who
don’t really know databases are, may not care
what databases are, when databases are like a source
of contention among librarians, and they argue about
which one’s the best one. And so I was trying to take what
they perceived as a simple task and then trying to break
it down and say, OK, well, they’re going to
need to do this, and even before
they can do this, they’re going to
need to know this, or you’re going to need to
be able to explain this. So that if they can
explain this concept, then they’re going to know that
they need to go here and so on. And once we started doing
that, once we started tinkering around with this, and I
showed up with the group, and they give their input,
it was kind of helpful to see here’s each step. Here’s how we maybe need
to teach these steps, or here’s where they’re
running into problems, and here’s potential
ways to short circuit that and make it
easier for them. So for me, that was part of the
helpful thing in the journey map is to kind of break it down;
here’s what they need to know, and here’s what they’re going
to need to do, and where do they run into problems? Where did the get lost? DEANA BROWN: So
that makes me think of one of things that
Steve said in the talk that we had with him was that
you make sure you’re designing for your exemplary
users but that you have aid along the way for those
that maybe have a lower level of understanding of
the concepts or technology, and that’s another part of
what Amy’s team is working on is inserting some of those
pieces throughout the website to add help right
where you need it rather than having a big
page somewhere else that you have to go and actually
find the help– that it’s much more integrated into
the library’s website. AMY VECCHIONE: Right, so Hans’
role as instructional designer had started out corralling
all of our video tutorials. We have hundreds
of video tutorials, but not every job aid needs
to be in video format, so we have those in
text as well right now. We know the most of
our users are students and that articles are the
primary task that they have to accomplish, and we
have ascertained that with data, which is fabulous. We also know that students want
and need just one box to search for it. So I’ll tell you that what
we’re doing with the library, based on the persona
shift, starting in fall, the articles tab is only
going to search for full text peer reviewed articles in
Academic Search Premier, and that’s partly because
that’s what they’re requiring in the undergraduate level. Courses that’s what the
library assignment is, but it’s also because that’s
what most people need anyway. And there’s an obvious
correlation there; it’s what the instructors
are asking for. We’re going to try to match
the instruction with the site, and that is going to help meet
exactly what the students need. Like I said, they only
need books sometimes, just in the first four weeks
of school, for the most part. We’re also cleaning
up the left navigation bar, which is not as intuitive. And every time we
touch a site, we’re eliminating a lot of the stuff
that doesn’t need to be there. There’s a lot of pages
in there that just simply were created at one
point– goes back to that self-referential
thing, where people thought there needed to be a website
or a web page on X, Y, or Z process, when in
reality, our users didn’t need that to
complete their job tasks. What do they need to
complete their job? That’s our focus. And in terms of future
persona development, we know that there
is an increasing need with accessibility
issues, to try to meet those needs on campus. It’s about 11% of the
general population has some kind of
accessibility issue, so we’re going to
create a persona that is an individual that has
an accessibility need. We need to hold some faculty
focus groups and learn more about how faculty
are using the website and finding articles and
then collecting more data to back up what we’re saying. I think now what
we’re going to do is introduce to you the personas
so that you can see them. We’re going to
introduce them to you as our friends, our
comrades, and we’re going to have you suggest input
and feedback on them as well. Deana, you’re first. DEANA BROWN: We’re
going to start off with some undergraduate
personas because, like we said, that’s the largest population
that’s accessing information on the library’s website. So this is Shawn
Search Box [? Kuhns, ?] and one of the things that we
did when creating the personas was give them a real name
but also incorporates some wording that really
synthesizes who they are and how we will help
think about who they are and how they’re interacting
with the website, so that’s what ‘Search Box’ is. He’s all about the search box. That’s the thing that’s front
and center on the library’s website currently
when you go there, and that’s his go-to spot. So you can see that we’ve
incorporated some of the data here. We like to come up with
quotes for them– again. Helps make them feel more
real– and putting it in a tone that we think this
person would be using to talk about the site. Next we’ve got Lucy
On Campus DIY Shaw. So one of the things
that we’ve been finding as we’ve been looking
through literature is that there’s a good segment
of the population of students that want to be able to
figure these things out for themselves, so that’s where
the ‘Do It Yourself’ comes in, or do it yourself with a
little bit of help from us. So this goes back
to incorporating some of those help aids
throughout the website, so definitely be helping Lucy
because she’s a self starter. She wants to be able
to do it on her own. She’s OK with getting help
from people from time to time, but really doesn’t want
to have to probably have to engage with the librarians
if she doesn’t have to. And next we have Harvey. AMY VECCHIONE: So I had
developed two different faculty personas. One, they’re pretty
self sufficient. And something that Steve
and I us had talked about was how you can kill off
personas and revive them later when you need them, and so
some personas are more useful, that help you with
your design and help you become more relevant and
make better design decisions. I have no data to back up what
the percentage breakdown would be of people that are
like Harvey on campus. I call him Harvey the
Old School Researcher. This quote that
he has is actually a direct quote from one of the
surveys that we’ve completed, the library quality,
the LibQUAL survey, and it’s in all
caps, which I feel represents where he’s at
in terms of technology, “great operation–
the only thing they need is more resources
from the administration.” So that’s what Harvey believes. He’s a faculty
member in English, and he doesn’t really start with
or use the library’s website. He just wants to walk in, and
wants Harper’s to be available online, and he wishes
his students could just use the library. And if you look at all
of these sentences, I tried– this is the
second iteration of Harvey because the first one, I
didn’t back it up with data, and then I realized I had too. It was going to make
it more compelling. And I actually kind of
learned that from Hans, and I won’t try
to speak for Hans, but I think he said– chime in
with exactly how you said this, if you want to. But he was skeptical
at first, but then once we start
adding the data, he realized how compelling
it was to create change so that we could say it
wasn’t self-referential. It wasn’t simply
what we believed, but rather we
understand really how these individuals are
interacting with our website to make these changes. So if you look, his
scenario elements, the tasks that he needs to
complete his daily work, those are cited and backed
up by actual survey data that we have completed. And though I don’t have an
RIB for a lot of the data that we have compiled,
I can tell you a little bit about some of
the things that we’ve learned and we’re planning on getting
an RIBs that we can more broadly share, but we have learned. So Harvey just
wants the students to understand how to
use the library better, and that does feed back into
the undergraduate students and their experience. DEANA BROWN: And Sally– Hans,
will you share Sally with us? HANS AAGARD: Sure, so this
is Sally Professional Grad. And if there’s anything here
that’s wrong, you just tell me, and we’ll take
that into account. I based part of this initially
on my own experience, and I want to chime
in on what Amy said. I do think initially
I was skeptical, and I can’t really pin down
why, about the idea of personas. But the more I dug
in, and especially once Steve showed us the idea– If you look, like Sally
is 35, lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, and then
there’s a one and a two. Those are two data points
that are in a footnote that you can’t see
that talk about how a majority of our
grad students are out of state and their ages. So I started sort of putting
these things together, and once I was able to do that,
once the data came together, I really started to understand
how basically the personas end up being market segments. We’re basically breaking
up the users of our site into market segments,
trying to figure out how to meet the market
segments’ needs. And once I understood
that, it was a lot more helpful for me
to see the value of them and especially to
try and back that up, as Amy talked about, with
data so that if someone were to say to us– I think in the back
of my mind I always think websites can be very
political since they seem to represent the organization,
and a lot of people have ideas on how
it should be used. And so part of my mind
is I assume skepticism. If we’re going to
make a decision, if we’re going to
say, well, we want to change this on
the front page, and then people will say, well,
no, that’s not how we do it, or this is what we think. And if we can say,
here’s the data that indicates that
this would be useful, then I think it’s a
little bit easier way to convince people about
changes that we’d like to make. And I found the same thing
with software development; when I would try and make
suggestions to developers, they would say well, OK. But if I said, a faculty
member sent me an email. Here’s the email. Here’s the improvement
that they would like, then there was data. Then that worked
better for them. And so, for me, this is all
about building arguments for the changes
that we would like to make in trying to improve
it based on specific market segments. And again, this is supposed
to represent part of you, as how you interact
with Boise State. And so if you look
at this going, no, that’s not
what I do, or that is what I do, I
welcome your input. DEANA BROWN: The
bottom line for all of this, if I can
just say real quick, is that it is looking at it
as if we were a business. We’re looking at
learning as if it’s trying to give the user
experience that you might have from amazon.com or Zappos. How do we do that? How do we give a similar
experience to higher education and give you what you need
to accomplish your tasks? That’s really the bottom line. And if you think about when
you go into grocery store and there’s a really
long line, or you’re trying to find parking
and there’s no parking, and then you have a negative
interaction with someone that’s working there. All of those things
impact your feelings about how you are
working with that entity, and you may never
go back there again. I’d like to avoid
that altogether; I’d like to just make
it a positive user experience for everyone. So when we take these
personas, and we walk through how
they would do it in their daily life,
those scenario elements, we want all of the touch
points at the library to be as positive as possible. That’s the ultimate goal. I think we’re going to open
it up now for questions. HANS AAGARD: It looks like
Jared has a question or comment. JARED: Can you hear me? AMY VECCHIONE: Yep. JARED: I just wanted to get
feedback on that last persona. It describes me perfectly. It’s almost creepy how
closely it describes me. HANS AAGARD: Hooray. JARED: You did a good. I just wanted to say that. HANS AAGARD: OK, good–
except your last name isn’t Professional Grad? JARED: Yeah, we could quibble
over some of those details, but, yeah, it’s on the mark. AMY VECCHIONE: Are you
In Hoboken, New Jersey? JARED: No, I’m not there
either, but that’s OK. I am out of state. HANS AAGARD: Can you can you
point out a couple of things that you felt like
were the right– that targeted what your needs are? JARED: School fits
between 9:00 and 11:00 PM at night, a few hours
on Saturday and Sunday. Her biggest need is
finding materials quickly without much support– spot on. HANS AAGARD: Right, OK, and
again, maybe part of that was based on my own
experience as a grad student, but right now, that’s sort
of my bandwidth as well. I’m at work and then my
other stuff is at night, so it’s helpful to be
designing a persona that’s related to your own
personal experience. JARED: Yes, unless I’m taking
class from Dr. Villachica, then it’s usually 9:00 to
about 2:00 in the morning. STEVE VILLACHICA: Thanks, Jared. I guess the other thing
that struck me here is in terms of the
persona characteristics, I think you’re off to
a good role already. The one thing that
strikes me is I think if you look at
situation and motivation, there may be a little
bit more that could go into the characteristics. So you might be considering
things like it’s late. Sally’s already behind because
one of the kids was sick, and she had to be at home
taking care if him today. She still has work to do. The assignment is due
tomorrow, and the team is waiting for the results. But something in
terms of– my take is the fact that I
think a lot of this work may be almost done
under duress as part of an ongoing
prioritization thing, but that’s my take
on it, and there are a bunch of people who are
in this webinar who can give you a better sense than I can. HANS AAGARD: So I took
a few of those notes, and maybe one of the things
that we can do– one of things that we’ve tried to do,
which it sounds odd, but it’s to get direct
access to our users and say, OK, how do you do this? How do you think about this? How do you approach the website? And so that kind of
feedback is really valuable. AMY VECCHIONE: It
looks like Tony had a question for us;
do your personas evolve over time as you
learn more, and how do you handle that evolution? They definitely evolved,
and basically we don’t hold ourselves to
what we’ve put down first and end there. As we are going
through this process, because it’s
definitely a process, and we’re in the middle
of it, we’re learning more about these personas, and
having them up at the meetings, when we are talking about
specific website elements, we’ll have an aha
moment and realize, oh, wait a minute, what
we’re talking about here relates directly to how
Shawn uses the website, so I should go either
gather more data, or I can add some more
narrative to his persona that’ll enrich that for other people
that might be using it. HANS AAGARD: Were you going
to bring that question up? Steve, is that for us; what
personas ended up being dead ends? AMY VECCHIONE: There’s one more
right above it, if we want. HANS AAGARD: Oh,
there’s another one. STEVE VILLACHICA:
Nathan’s question first, and then my question
is to the team as well. DEANA BROWN: When you completed
the scenario elements, and those are the tasks–
that’s how I think of them. That’s what we’ve
been calling them– what process did we go through
regarding what to include and what to exclude
from the data? That was the biggest challenge
we had at the beginning. So one of the ways we
handled that was we posted a survey on the
website, a two-day survey, during one of the busiest
times of the semester, and we asked people to
tell us who they were. I use the library’s
website the most as a/an, and then there’ s a drop down
list– undergraduate, graduate, faculty, independent
researchers. There were a few other
things on that list, and then we said what
did you come here to do? What were the tasks that
you came here to do? And they could check
office many things as they wanted to
from that list. So that was the
beginning of how we were able to cull that kind of data. We had some existing data about
that, and then, of course, there’s what we know
that users are being asked to do in their classes. There’s now a core
curriculum that’s called University Foundations. Hans has been working
on the library team. We have a library element
in all of those classes, so every incoming freshman and
every incoming transfer student has a library assignment
that they have to do. So we knew that
those tasks existed. We just didn’t know
if they measured up to how people are needing
to use the website, and we’re just finally trying
to triangulate that data, and I hope that answers your
question a little bit, Nathan. I can’t share the exact data
with you all at this time, but we’re going to continue
to gather that data. I plan on every semester having
two two-day surveys like that so that we can see how
tasks change over time. And what’s interesting
about it is that it’s really self-selected. You might assume there would be
a smattering of different kinds of things that
individuals are trying to accomplish on our website. In reality, finding an article
became the central task that everyone was
trying to accomplish. Does that answer–
does anyone else have something to add to that
because we have other things? DEANA BROWN: Well,
and, Amy, if memory serves, that short survey
that we did do on the website, did that come about
because we did see that there was a
gap in some of the data that we had initially? And so we knew that we needed
to gather some more data to beef up our personas, so
that kind of went back to that iterative process of
where we had started to create personas, realized we maybe
didn’t have quite as much information as we wanted. We came up with a way
that we could quickly gather some of that information
and then applied it back to the personas we already had. AMY VECCHIONE: Right, so
if you look at, I think, on here, if it’s cited,
if the task is cited, if the scenario
element is cited, it is something we had gathered
data on with either since we started or up until now, and
if it doesn’t, it’s something that we have ascertained
from our experience that is definitely way more squishy. It’s definitely requesting
a print book is what I think is a scenario element. Putting things on
reserve is what I think, but neither one of
those is the majority of what they need to do. I don’t have any data
to back those up, so that’s why they’re
listed down below. STEVE VILLACHICA: And some
teams that are creating personas are using footnotes not just
to document data sources, but if they’ve made
a working assumption, they’ll use a footnote to
indicate that saying, this is our best guess at this
time, and we’re proceeding on the basis of this. And what’s nice
about that approach is if you are
making assumptions, it’s good to get them
out so that the team is clear on what they’re assuming. But also when you
take the personas to other people for
review and input that they know where
you’re stretching, and they’re able to either
validate that assumption or help you get data to
validate it, or they reject it, but it’s a good idea to make
those assumptions manifest. DEANA BROWN: So we’ve got a
couple other things, Steve, before we get to the
question that you asked. I saw that, I think
it was, Sherry had her flag up for awhile. I don’t know if
she had a question. SHERRY: Thank you. So first, I’m really pleased
to see how carefully you are tying the personas to data
and how much you’re really spending time looking at that. Because one of the things
that I found, and I have a lot of experience
in creating personas and so forth, one of
the things I found is sometimes what happens is
that people get carried away with the character in the
story, of the persona, and that having the
data there really pulls them back to what
is true about that person. So I was really
pleased to see that. The other thing I
wanted to mention– this is something that I’ve
found over time that I do more than I did
when I first started– and that is that I
don’t always create personas who are nice because
not all people are nice. So, for example, I have
in one of my persona sets I have the guy I call The
Saboteur, and he’s out there. He does not like what I’m
doing, and he’s out there. And it brings kind of the
change management idea in, too, so I just wanted
to mention that. And then one other thing
that I sometimes do is that when I’m
looking at my tasks, I am sort of, for
each of the personas, I’m careful to kind of look
at what that person already kind of knows how
to do pretty well and what that person
doesn’t know how to do, and that helps with when
you start to tie what, you where you were mentioning
from Dr. Villachica, which is there’s one set
of people who’s like the exemplary
learner, and there’s others that aren’t quite there. And so that allows you to
kind of separate the feedback that you’re giving that person
that’s not there and then also really zone in on the tasks
that the person doesn’t know how to do versus what they do. So anyway, there’s
just my $0.2 there. Great job– it
looks really great. DEANA BROWN: That’s great. Thank you, Sherry. AMY VECCHIONE: Thanks. I think of Shawn as that
person that’s– he’s not really a saboteur, exactly, but I think
he’s pretty skeptical of all of the things in the library. That’s how I think of him. DEANA BROWN: I think
of him as kind of being a little jerky, myself as well. AMY VECCHIONE: But then
I know that Harvey, I don’t say this in here,
but I know that Harvey hates all that digital stuff. Like I just know that that’s
something that he doesn’t like. HANS AAGARD: And I think
it’s also interesting– when you said that,
I started thinking about our own staff
in the library also use the
website a lot, and I don’t know that we’ve created
a persona that reflects them, and I thought about
when you talked about change management,
one of the things that we have to work
through with making changes on the website is
how does this affect the people in the library who
are basically people that have to OK those decisions,
and so trying to think through those as well. So if they need to access
things on the website, how do we help make sure
that we’re keeping them as personas as well? STEVE VILLACHICA: So
the lesson learned here is that it’s not
necessarily just about users and personas but
perhaps personas that can help you better
understand other stakeholders that are part of determining
whether or not you’ve delivered a success story. HANS AAGARD: Right,
exactly, and I think also, along those lines, one of the
things that was a surprise is there are, when you
talk about stakeholders, faculty tend to be very powerful
influencers on a campus. But then we have but then
we have so much data that says undergrads are
really the people that are using the website the most,
customizing it based to them versus based on the
faculty is a big shift, and it’s one that we do we
do have to take into account. Well, the faculty are
still stakeholders, and they have a
certain kind of stake, and we need to
keep that in mind. DEANA BROWN: And especially
because a lot of the scenarios, the reason why students are
our largest population using the site is because their
faculty members are directing them to it, so they’re
still definitely playing a role in that process. There was another
question from Joe; did you have any problems with
personal bias, personal desires sneaking into the personas? How do you keep them
from just reflecting what you think the site needs? I can speak to that
really briefly, but I think this is
where the data comes in again and to constantly
be asking yourself, what would this person be doing? What would Harvey be
doing in this scenario? What would Lucy be
doing in this scenario? It’s not about what Deana would
be doing in this scenario. It’s about what
they would be doing. And so really kind of
moving that thought process to the front of your mind rather
than having it in the back, makes sure that
you’re constantly keeping them in your
heart and in your mind rather than just going with
what your gut is saying. STEVE VILLACHICA:
Well, and what I think you’re doing here
in terms of saying, we created a persona for
a busy grad student, what do you think? What’s missing? I think there are different
ways to take these personas out, and it’s almost akin
to usability testing, but checking what’s
on target, what isn’t. And I think the more you
make that process rigorous, where we have based
these on data. We’ve minimized what we
feel is artistic license. We’ve documented what
we feel are assumptions, so everybody can
verify them or not, and we’ve tested
them with people. The more this gets
from, oh, and we’ve added something about
Harvey saying he likes dogs and carnival rides. Well, it’s an interesting
bit of trivia, but it doesn’t really
help you do anything with Harvey that leads to a
goal of improving performance in ways that people value. AMY VECCHIONE:
Something that I didn’t share– I’m looking for
this document right now, but we kept a Google spreadsheet
of every decision or idea that came up about the website,
and we’ve been doing it for the last couple years. It’s a Scrum type of thing. I’m kind of the Scrum
Master in some ways. I’m supposed to
deflect distractions from the people that
are trying to craft what is happening, right? So the people that are actually
going through the Scrum to-do list there’s a category
in there now that says is their data to back up this
idea or a website decision? And so that’s another way. So it’ll say things like
X, Y, Z person thinks we need to do this,
but if there’s no data to back
that up, it doesn’t float to the top as a priority. Of course, if President
Kustra, if he were to say, you nee this, perhaps
that would raise higher to the priority list. DEANA BROWN: I would imagine. HANS AAGARD: I could
think of a specific change that we made that I think
was sort of a personal bias, and then we had to shift it
was a lot of people wanted to do a search in
one specific database and just do it on
the front page, and we thought, oh, OK,
that’ll be easier for everyone. And then we checked a
couple of data points. One was the Google
Analytics, and then one was working with the faculty
in the Foundations course, and they said, no, we want
Academic Search Premier. We want a specific database. We want students to give us a
screenshot from that database. And so that shifted our
assumption, which was, well, everyone’s just
wants to use the front page to there are people going
to the database tab, which we’re guessing means
Academic Search Premier, but we’re still going to
get more data on that. And then the other one was
the fact of the content. So that kind of shot holes
in that beautiful idea. We thought we’d
figured it all out, and so we have to
adjust based on that. DEANA BROWN: It looks
there’s another. So hopefully that
answered Joe’s question. It looks like there’s
another question; what happens to personas after
accomplishment of the goal? Well, part of this process
is that it’s ongoing. There might be one piece, like
some of those tasks that Amy was talking about, where
we can say, yes, awesome, this was the thing that
we saw that was wrong. Here’s how we came up
with a solution for it, and that iteration
of that is done. As far as the
personas, is it might be that as we’re shifting from
different parts of the website and addressing different
issues, some personas won’t be as relevant as others. Another web page that we’re
working on is the faculty page. So obviously, the
undergrad personas aren’t going to be super
informative in readdressing how that website is
designed, so I don’t think– we’re still in
the middle this process, so we don’t know what’s going
to happen to these personas, but my assumption is that
we’re going to hang onto them and bring them back
into the discussion as is relevant to
whatever task we’re trying to redesign and make
more efficient for our users. Anyone else? AMY VECCHIONE: The goal
is to constantly improve. That’s not going to change. So I don’t know
that they’re ever going to die off completely. We’re never going to
accomplish the goal having a perfect website. Every single time
the web changes, there’s new ways of doing things
that changes the expectation that users have. So I think that for the
ones that we’re not using, they’re going to stay in
the file box, and the ones that we need, we keep them
alive and they keep meeting with us until we don’t need
them to improve it anymore. It’s already pretty obvious
to me which ones are useful and which ones are not. DEANA BROWN: And we’ve
got another question; will the personas age and
graduate and new personas enroll each year in order to
stay on target with evolution. I think that would be hilarious
to have a little graduation ceremony. AMY VECCHIONE:
That’s a great idea. DEANA BROWN: I don’t know
that we will necessarily have them graduate, per se, but
they might evolve, certainly, as we’re seeing things change
with the student population as far as how they’re
interacting with the website and as technology develops. I imagine that those two things
are going to inform each other, but maybe we could make
little cap and gowns that we can stick on them
for when they do graduate. AMY VECCHIONE: I can tell
you that when I first started teaching here in
2009, the undergraduates in my library research
class, the predominant user group with nontraditional
returning– I guess I call them
returning students. Other people say
they’re nontraditional, but it was the
majority of the class were these returning students
that had already gone on, had lives, and were
coming back to finish their undergraduate degree. And also, the
majority of the class, there’d be one or
two people that had some kind of smartphone
device, like an iPod Touch or something like that, but
when I taught this past spring, there was only one
returning student. The rest were
traditional freshman, and they all had some
kind of smartphone device. So if we don’t keep on top
of that kind of data, which we collect from a variety of
sources, as we pointed out, then we are going to lose track
of how the personas really work. HANS AAGARD: I’m
going to chime in also back on– I hope I’m saying
this right– Sy’s question, I’m going to guess that
maybe what she’s not saying is that this is not necessarily
a traditional project, like, well, then we start,
and we gather the data, and then we’re done,
and then we’re finished. I know in a lot organizations
that’s how it works. Right now, the model that
Amy’s presented to us is it’s kind of like
Google; stuff just changes. We just keep changing it. We get new data;
we just change it. We get new data;
we just change it. So it’s very iterative. We have deadlines. Like, for example, we’ve
got to create some tutorials for the fall, and
the website is going to change before
the fall, so we’ve got to get the website done
before those tutorials are created and all
that kind of stuff. But then after that, even
though we’ll keep in mind like, well, we’ll have to go back
and redo all of our tutorials if we change the website,
if there’s a huge need to change the website, then we
sort of take that into account. OK, well, then we’ll have
to go redo the tutorials. That’s fine. But it tends to
be very iterative that way in terms of like it’s
not necessarily a project we start and stop. And so that was something
that was new for me. STEVE VILLACHICA:
It almost sounds like you are using the
concept of releases. So as you go through
your Scrum and sprints, with each one of
those it’s like, OK, we know we have a release coming
up on such and such a day, and given some of
the things that we’re going to consider putting
into that software release, we think these personas may
be relevant and helpful. What’s the state
of those personas? Do we need to iterate
them any further for them to be of greater use? And then they serve their role. They go away until
you’re looking at the next set of
sprints, where they’re going to be useful again. Did I get that right? AMY VECCHIONE: You did,
and the greatest part about working with
your professor is that he has so much
experience that these things that we’re just kind
of grappling with and we don’t have the terms for,
he has been able to identify these as concepts to me,
and that’s exactly how we’ve been doing it. We’re trying to meet the needs
of essentially knowledge broker workers out in the
field, and they look at lots of
websites all day long, and we are competing with
all of those websites, and all those websites are
using Scrum and Agile to do iterative changes, and we
have to keep up as well. So we do these sprints
based on changes based on how the world
changes all around us. If I were to put up a static
website and like, there it is. Everyone work with that. We would see people
departing in droves. I think there was one more
question that can be used again with new learning contexts? Hans and Deana, what do
you guys think about that? DEANA BROWN: I think so. I mean I think that goes back
to the idea of filing personas away rather than
killing them perhaps. Because I think that
filing them away pulling them back out and
kind of refreshing them, I think it’s what we can do. There might come
a point where we do need to just completely
scrap all of personas we have and start over. The good news is,
is if we do decide we need to do that, we’ve
already done this once, and so hopefully it’ll
be an even better process and our personas will be even
stronger because we’ve already gone through and designed
some ones already. But I think that, yeah, it
is definitely contextual. Harvey isn’t really
going to be helping us a whole lot with
deciding what we’re going to do to serve our
undergraduate students– a little bit, but
not nearly as much as some of the undergraduate
personas would. HANS AAGARD: And another
thing I’d chime in with, I agree with what Dean said. I think there’s some
growth edges that become more obvious, like,
for example, what Amy said about mobile phones. As we’ve seen, just even
in the past five years, the huge number of mobile
phones [INAUDIBLE] then OK, well, that’s an edge
we have to look at. And whatever things
come up, it may be that there are
more subtle things, but it may be that they’re
really obvious things, like every single
freshman is going to have to take a course where
they find an academic article. That’s new data we’re going
to have to take into account. And so I think that’s
one of the things that we have a
little flag that’ll come up that’ll say, oh,
here’s some things we need to go re-exam, and then that’s
how we’ll change the personas. But we’ll keep them around. STEVE VILLACHICA:
And with that, we’ve come to the end of
our time, and I’d like to thank Amy
and Deana and Hans for sharing their
expertise with us. We’ve recorded this
webinar and will be posting it to the Boise State
OPWL department website soon. And this concludes
our webinar today. AMY VECCHIONE:
Thanks for having us. DEANA BROWN: Thanks
for having us. Thanks everyone for joining us. HANS AAGARD: And thanks
for your questions. They were really good. DEANA BROWN: Yeah,
really useful. STEVE VILLACHICA: Thank you. Bye, all.

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