The User Repertory Grid Technique to Crowdsourced User Research Analysis: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Creating Personas

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Stergiadis, Dimitris; Arvola, Mattias
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Linköping University
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


There are many different methods for analysing user research data in user-centred design. One method is to create personas. Personas are fictive characters with a name and a face. They are based on data about the users, and designers and other stakeholders can engage in them and empathize with them as a proxy for the actual users. Personas are communication tools that make it easier for a large group of developers and designers to focus on a shared view of whom the design is for. There are different ways of creating personas, including analysis of behavioural variables and goals, thematic analysis, and mixing qualitative and quantitative methods. Creating personas relies heavily on the expertise of the user researcher and others in the design team. The creation of personas could potentially benefit from crowdsourcing the analysis of user data and hence counteract the subjectivity inherent in persona creation. The aim of this case study is to tentatively explore the possibilities and difficulties of crowdsourcing persona creation facilitated by the repertory grid technique (RGT). RGT is a mixed-methods approach that combines qualitative and quantitative data and we used it to investigate individual participants’ view on the summaries and the views of the pool of participants. It is a method derived from personal construct theory (PCP), in which an individual is posed to have personal theories and expectations that direct how he or she views things (in this case a number of interview summaries). In the context of user research, we call the method User Repertory Grids. We had 28 participants in our crowdsourced analysis of five summarized user interviews. The participants’ personal constructs of the summarized interviews were elicited. We then visualized the results in Bertin plots and biplots, and we calculated the importance and dominance of the constructs. We conclude that User Repertory Grids has potential to complement other methods in user modelling, but it is, in the end, no escape from subjectivity. Using this method, the subjectivity of experts is transferred to a subjectivity of the crowd

Keywords: User-centred design, personas, repertory grid technique, user experience, user research methods


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