Earlier this week I came across a YouTube advert for Open Universities Australia (OUA). The OUA basically consists of seven Australian Universities who have teamed to offer online tertiary education. The advert in question which is for the Technical And Further Education (TAFE) struck me for two reasons – the obvious one is its originality and humor. The second one is the way personas were effectively used as the core concept behind this video.
About Personas in User Centered Design
A persona (personas is the plural) describes a specific person for whom a system is targeted. Thus, a typical persona would detail the demographics, needs, preferences and even a photo of such person. Typically personas (or, as some prefer, personae) are an essential part of the user centered design process as they are used to help designers and information architects to identify the needs and expectations of each potential target customer group. In this way, it would be easier to understand user motivations, expectations and goals that are responsible for driving online behavior.
Meet Gary – The Open Universities Australia’s Persona
Gary is the persona created by The Open Universities Australia for the TAFE adverts. This is because, in the words of Toni Cutler who is the Director for Brand Communications & Marketing of the OUA, he “epitomises the conversations people often have with themselves when they feel out of their depth and need to psyche themselves out”. Basically Gary represents the typical middle aged potential target customer for OUA’s TAFE courses.
But instead of using Gary just to understand who their potential student is, the OUA took it a step beyond and found an actor who is the real-life version of Gary. To keep the discussion simple – they integrated Gary not only in their thought process but actually used him in their final artifacts – one of which is this video.
So, enough talk … and enjoy the video!
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