Persona ontology for user centred design professionals

Farshid Anvari, Hien Minh Thi Tran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The design of software applications is a multistage creative process. User Centred Design (UCD) is a methodology used to develop applications that consider the goals of the users as a primary requirement. The use of personas, archetypical users, in UCD is well established in the software industry. Personas may take various forms: personas, mash-up personas, incomplete personas and unspoken personas. The use of personas increases as the design progresses through stages. Personas are used to facilitate the design of applications focusing on target users and to communicate with stakeholders. Users' tasks of consuming the information from an application or web browser are cognitively demanding. It is expected that if the users' profile matches the application's personas, the users will find the application cognitively less demanding. Different techniques have been used to author personas with alternative media and varying information content, to such an extent that there is now a need to define the ontology of personas. This ontology would allow personas with consistent meanings to be shared across the design, development, test, marketing and sales teams; and would allow persona attributes and properties to be mapped to other design and development tools, such as actors, use cases and domain models. In this paper we explore the research question: how can we evaluate the usefulness of personas in software design, development, testing, communication and training? Through five case studies in various Australian industries, we provide insights into the use of personas in various phases of design, development, testing and training. We present a conceptual design of persona ontology. We propose the design of a persona ontology framework which represents personas in a hierarchical, multidimensional structure. We present a Holistic Persona with five dimensions: Factual, Personality, Intelligent, Knowledge and Cognitive Process Dimensions. The Holistic Persona at the top level is an abstract persona with generic properties and attributes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Information Systems Management and Evaluation
Subtitle of host publicationICIME 2013 : RMIT University Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 13-14 May 2013
EditorsJohn Blooma, Mathews Nkhoma, Nelson Leung
Place of PublicationReading, UK
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781909507180
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems Management and Evaluation (4th : 2013) - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Duration: 13 May 201314 May 2013


ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems Management and Evaluation (4th : 2013)
CityHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam


  • holistic persona
  • scenarios
  • user centred design
  • usability
  • persona ontology


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