CSC 395 (Fall 2021)

Reading: Ideation and Personas

Ideation and Personas

In the human-centered design process, after identifying and prioritizing the needs of our subjects, we then dive into ideation, the generation of potential solutions for the needs we have identified. Ideation is where we let our creativity fly! Our goal in the ideation process is to brainstorm solutions without regard to constraint; we’ll identify the “best” solutions as we transition into the design phase of HCD!

While the ideation process is necessarily amorphous and unconstrained, there are some general principles and techniques we can follow to help focus our actions. The first of these that we will study is the persona which gives us a generalized, yet concrete set of subjects to consider as we generate ideas. Since our projects are research-based in nature, we’ll also take time during the next few weeks to talk about the academic research process, in particular, performing literature searches to discover what other solutions people have proposed to our problems.

First review these short readings as an overview of the ideation process:

And then, read the following articles about on personas. The first describes the persona-generation process in more detail. The second gives one of the classic examples of persona-generation: characterizing the player base of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.


Reading Exercise (Personas)

  1. Summarize in a few sentences each of the following personas from the reading: “Timmy”, “Johnny”, and “Spike”.

  2. The Timmy/Johnny/Spike personas can be applied to other contexts that involve competitive games. Reflect on a competitive game that you have played (whether it is a video game, board game, or sport). In a paragraph or two, answer the following questions:

    • What game are you considering?
    • Which of the personas (or combinations thereof) do you personally identify with the most with respect to this game?
    • Do you believe that Timmy/Johnny/Spike fully capture the subjects of this game? Are there any additional personas that you would add to this model for your chosen game?