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Persona-Based Inspection

A Persona-Based Inspection, also called a Perspective-Based Inspection, is an evaluation conducted in-house before the product is tested with real users. Your evaluators — members of your product team or other co-workers — are asked to adopt a general type of user perspective as they examine a product for problems. Because a Persona-Based Inspection is typically performed prior to any Ethnography studies, personas used are “provisional” only. That is, provisional personas are straw men for exploring potential use problems, but not yet the final personas constructed from completed user research.


Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time for Each Persona Inspection: 1 Hour
  • Time to Create the Presentation: 4 Hours
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • Prototype or live site
  • Spreadsheet to record issues and insights

Carry Out This Method

  1. Define the characteristics inherent to each persona, including the tasks, goals, and needs important to each of them.
  2. Give each evaluator their assignment(s) with a due date to report their findings. You can have one evaluator adopt several different perspectives, as well. Some possible perspective types are:
    • International User: Searching for issues a non-native English speaker might encounter, or problems stemming from the user’s location.
    • Error-prone User: Search for likely sources of basic user mistakes, such as poor button placement or unclear terminology.
    • Accessibility User: Search for overlooked alt tags, contrast ratios, video captions, and other accessibility concerns.
    • Consistency User: Search for consistent branding elements, feature locations, and styling.
    • Novice User: Search for UI elements that may confuse new visitors.
    • Power User: Search for opportunities to remove steps, add shortcuts, and improve advanced features.
  3. Tell each of them to inspect the product independently.
  4. When you receive your evaluators’ findings, compile the issues together into a single document.
  5. Review the data with the entire team to clarify the findings.
  6. Prioritize issues based on the product’s development timeline.
  7. Present issues and insights to stakeholders and the team.

Try These Tips

  • Do not try to cover every possible persona.
  • You can create other types of product personas, such as the keyboarder, helpless user, or forgetful user. You want each evaluator to have a specific focus, with enough time to report issues and insights discovered during their inspection.
  • In order to determine what personas to test for, ask your product’s Help Desk or Customer Service department for the common types of users they encounter.
  • Inspectors with any kind of agenda will not be objective and should not participate in a Persona-Based Inspection.
  • Have inspectors use a common template to make it easier to compile results (screenshots with callouts work best).

Explore More Resources

Designing the User Experience at Autodesk: Perspective-Based Inspection
Fluid: User Experience Walkthroughs
Chauncey Wilson: User Interface Inspection Methods

Shipping & Delivery

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