Introducing Personas and Workflows

Personas and workflows are fundamental to the development of the Catalyst Web Tools. Personas are conceptual frameworks that define general, high-level characteristics of our target users: students, instructors, administrative staff, and researchers. For example, the instructor persona represents our current understanding of the background and behavior of the average instructor, based upon data accumulated through research studies, interviews, and feedback from various support channels. Our goal is for these personas to describe characteristics shared by the majority of our user base. Personas aid us in considering problems and needs from the perspective of our target users.

As we develop new features and functionality, we rely on personas to provide background information on our users while considering the tasks they go through in order to accomplish their goals. A workflow is the visualization of this list of tasks and paints a clear picture of what steps each user takes to accomplish their specific goals. Creating workflows for each target user persona helps us find where the opportunities are for our tools to support specific user tasks and gives us a broad initial measure to determine if a certain design will support these workflows.

We rely on interactions with you, our users, to ensure that our personas remain accurate. As you participate in usability studies, surveys, interviews, or contact us through our support channels, you help build our understanding of who our users are and the workflows that we need to support. We consider this data as we revise our personas to ensure that they are current and accurate.

So, remember the above when you see another opportunity to take part in a study and please contact us at lsthelp@uw.edu if you find yourself frustrated that your workflow doesn’t appear to be supported by our tools. The more we know about what you are trying to do, the better we will be able to design our tools to support you.

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