Open Conference Systems, Catac 2016

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RE-CONCEPTUALISING PERSONAS ACROSS CULTURES: ARCHETYPES, STEREOTYPES AND COLLECTIVE PERSONAS IN TWO LOCALES IN PASTORAL NAMIBIA
Daniel Gonzalez Cabrero, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Jose Abdelnour Nocera

Last modified: 2016-06-05

Abstract


The current paucity of empirical projects where persona is the focus of technology research and the lack of theoretical consensus around such an artefact leave many researchers and practitioners reticent about its purpose and effectiveness. Moreover conceptualising personas is expected to differ across cultural contexts, which is in sharp contrast between the advancements offered by Western theory and research and the state of affairs in other sites. We postulate that User-Created Personas (UCP) bring out specific characteristics of the cultural setting by allowing laypeople designing persona artefacts in their own terms. Hence analysing a number of five persona sessions with two ethnic groups in rural Namibia –ovaHerero and ovaHimba– brought up a set of fundamental questions around the persona artefact in relation to stereotypes, archetypes, as well as collective persona representations: (1) to what extent user representations are stereotypical or archetypal? If the former primes, (2) to what degree then is the current persona still a useful method to think about users of designed systems or in the process of design? And, (3) how can we ultimately interpret accounts not conforming to mainstream individual persona descriptions but to collectives?

Keywords


Persona; Collaborative Persona; User-Created Personas; User Involvement; Cultural Usability; User Experience; Indigenous Knowledge

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