Cards and Guidelines

Steve Lee steve at
Wed Aug 10 17:31:08 UTC 2016

+1 for feel persona's are a useful but restricted tool. The danger is
they are seen as representing the only representative 'user'.

I wonder if IDEO's Design kit has any alternatives? I have a copy but
never read it. You can get a free PDF version

Steve Lee

On 10 August 2016 at 17:23, Dana Ayotte <dana.ayotte at> wrote:
> Hi Jutta,
> Thank you for your reply! It’s very helpful.
> I agree it would be good to replace the term Principles with insights or
> facets growing out of the dimensions. I have been thoughtful about how to
> present the dimensions and their relationship to the “Principles" as we have
> been developing the guide. As you say, they are messy in a good way -
> unbounded, overlapping, etc.  I’m excited to brainstorm some creative ways
> we can present them in both the cards and the online guide.
> I also feel a discomfort with personas and the conflict around encouraging
> co-design while at the same time promoting personas as a tool. Your point
> about how they remove the multi-faceted, unexpected requirements the users
> may reveal is such an important one - I’m thoughtful about how we might
> address this in the guide. Since personas are such a commonly-used design
> tool, it seems like it might be a good idea to address the limitations
> rather than just leave it out altogether. While at the same time encouraging
> a co-design process.
> We’ll give some more thought to how we can clearly communicate that the
> activities and tools are extensible - particularly online. I can imagine
> that once we get more of an authoring environment up and running with the
> guide (one that allows choosing and printing a personal collection of cards
> etc) it could also allow someone to temporarily author their own content, as
> well as submit the content to our repository - perhaps we could add these to
> the guide as community-generated contributions in some way (which would
> encourage others to do the same).
> We’ve now got the Inclusive Design Mapping Tool up on the site in the
> Activities section
> (,
> but we’ve still got User States and Contexts in the Tools section. It sounds
> like you’re suggesting that we remove User States and Contexts altogether,
> is that right? Our thinking around it was that the US&C tool provides a way
> to more quickly map out one or more users’ needs - and provides a way to
> compare different users and ensure that a broad range of needs are being
> covered. The Mapping Tool seems to be more of an in-depth process of looking
> at how a specific design solution meets the needs of a particular user or
> user-group. If we keep the US&C tool, perhaps we can communicate its
> limitations more clearly in the guide and provide some cautionary
> suggestions as to how to use it.
> I look forward to discussing further at today’s community meeting!
> Dana
> On Aug 10, 2016, at 5:57 AM, Treviranus, Jutta <jtreviranus at> wrote:
> Hi Dana,
> I missed this message yesterday, apologies.
> I can provide some input before the meeting.
> Generally, I don’t want to give the impression that there is a fixed or
> distinct number of principles. This is what I was trying to avoid when
> choosing dimensions over principles. Principles communicate a hubris that we
> are somehow all knowing and prescient and have somehow arrived at a cardinal
> set of rules. Dimensions are not bounded and they are part of each other.
> They also don’t claim to be of the same type or of the same weight. This is
> why I expressed what you are calling principles as aspects of the
> dimensions. I wanted to create a system that allowed an organic growth of
> insights, these aha moments that drive a deeper understanding of the field.
> I’ve certainly been experiencing this when I realize the aptness of the
> dimensions each time I apply them.
> Can we get away from using the term principles? Can we put in insights or
> facets of the dimensions?
> I also want to communicate the notion that activities and tools are
> extensible, people can add to them and create new ones. The blank cards are
> good for this. Can we do this in other ways as well?
> I want to get away from any hint of deficit thinking and the idea that we
> know all the facets of a user or their context that we need to consider.
> This is one of my discomforts with the User States and Contexts tool and
> part of why I wanted to morph it. I’ve discussed before why I want to
> further explore the Inclusive Design Mapping Tool - to communicate that we
> stretch our designs, include the middle or average in that stretching and
> inclusion, etc.
> I’m believing less and less in persona and the way we arrive at persona.
> There is definitely an engagement of the design team (it is fun) but there
> is also a smugness and self-satisfaction with our own creativity. The more
> we add “life-like” qualities to the persona the more we think we have been
> in some way right or better. It is a ruse for really talking to and engaging
> real users who have difficulty using or can’t use the current designs. Even
> when we base our persona on research regarding edge users, the process of
> creating a persona removes the multi-faceted unexpected requirements the
> users may reveal. The requirements are only as multi-faceted and dynamic as
> our imagination and ability to keep complexity in our focus while we are
> designing. I want to significantly rethink this area. I do not want to give
> prominence to persona as a tool. I want to stress co-design.
> We can discuss this more in the meeting as well.
> Jutta
> On Aug 9, 2016, at 11:49 AM, Dana Ayotte <dana.ayotte at> wrote:
> Hi Jutta,
> I wanted to follow up on this since we’ll be discussing the guide at the
> community meeting tomorrow - I wondered if you could provide feedback about
> the guide/principles structure before then, and/or would you like to discuss
> it at the meeting tomorrow?
> Thanks,
> Dana
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