The core of our brief for this project has been about communicating a complex message to a very specific audience. As a team we have had to get to grips with a lot of information, which we have then filtered and designed, to become more engaging and accessible to an audience of childcare practitioners.
In order to develop a clear understanding as to what information we needed to highlight (and which to leave out) for a very diverse audience, last week we created personas to encourage us to think from their perspective.
Personas are generally used in user-centred design, in order to create a general representation of the types of different characters, within a targeted demographic. click this link for more examples of personas being used as a service design tool This then allows designers to see how each demographic is driven by their individual needs and habits, and this can help to create a much better understanding for a team as to the different audiences likely motivations and attitudes, towards what is being designed for them.
Therefore as designers ourselves, with little understanding about the needs of a Scottish policeman, teacher or nurse, who may have a concern about child protection, the use of this technique helped us to clarify the type of information they needed to know and what we should then leave out.
We were also able to see how we could cater our client WS’s message to answer their particular needs. This turned out to be a key part of our process for developing ideas for our video, because we were able to see how the different personas can use the WS resource to exchange information across their agencies, and build upon their individual professional development, in line with government policy:
However, the downside to this technique is that personas tend to be quite stereotypical, because they present a large amount of data in one character. And though this helped us to be more efficient in our decision making, because it helped simplify and filter our research, and also encouraged us to think like the people we were designing for, it also played a hinderance later on in our project work, when we came to visualising these personas for our video.
Our video concept depicts characters from the three professions, in order to show how they can interact with our clients resource. In trying to catch this audiences attention with our icons, (so that they can know the message is relevant to them) we originally created icon designs that communicated very explicitly as to who they were supposed to be representing.
However, by designing this way we found that during our feedback and review sessions, we were creating confusion, and sometimes even alienating some of our audience as they were put off and distracted by some of the character depictions we had designed.
In the end, the icons we settled for, were as simple as possible in order to communicate our message. And though initially we felt that communicating detail to our message, through our icons was going to be really important, we have now discovered that less is definitely more, because an audience is more likely to engage and see themselves in a design that is neutral and does not stereotype in any way, through too much individual detail.