User involvement can help designers reach beyond functionality and usability, and identify the user’s deeper needs for a pleasurable product experience. In practice, direct user involvement can be limited by a lack of knowledge of appropriate techniques, confidentiality constraints or limited access to end-users. Alternatively, personas can be used as a substitute for direct user involvement. Personas, however, often end up as posters in the hallway of a design department without being used, for instance because personas are not sufficiently realistic, or because the personas are insufficiently communicated within the design department. This paper presents a case study featuring Virtual Personas. This application allows designers to create and review use scenarios in a virtual world, featuring digital avatars. Although the application has been successfully deployed, it was found that additional effort is required for designers to really reach beyond the level of functionality and usability.


personas scenarios roleplaying virtual reality case study 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Jordan, P.W.: Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human Factors. CRC Press (August 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ozcelik, D., Quevedo-Fernandez, J., Thalen, J., Terken, J.: Engaging users in the early phases of the design process: Attitudes, concerns and challenges from industrial practice. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, DPPI 2011, pp. 13:1–13:8. ACM, New York (2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thalen, J.: Facilitating user centred design through virtual reality. PhD thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. The Netherlands (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Calde, S., Goodwin, K., Reimann, R.: SHS orcas: the first integrated information system for long-term healthcare facility management. In: Case Studies of the CHI 2002: AIGA Experience Design FORUM, CHI 2002, pp. 2–16. ACM, New York (2002)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cooper, A.: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., Indianapolis (1999)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pruitt, J., Grudin, J.: Personas: practice and theory. In: Proceedings of the 2003 Conference on Designing for User Experiences, DUX 2003, pp. 1–15. ACM, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Carroll, J.M.: Scenario-based design: envisioning work and technology in system development. Wiley & Sons, New York (1995)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Blomkvist, S.: The user as a personality. In: Position Paper for the Course Workshop on Theoretical Perspectives in Human-Computer Interaction at IPLab, KTH (2002)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Grudin, J., Pruitt, J.: Personas, participatory design and product development: An infrastructure for engagement. In: Proc. PDC, vol. 2002, p. 7 (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Carmichael, A., Newell, A.F., Dickinson, A., Morgan, M.: Using theatre and film to represent user requirements. In: Proceeding of Include Conference Royal College of Art, London, vol. 5 (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jimeno, A., Puerta, A.: State of the art of the virtual reality applied to design and manufacturing processes. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 33(9-10), 866–874 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tideman, M., van der Voort, M., van Houten, F.: A new product design method based on virtual reality, gaming and scenarios. International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing 2(4), 195–205 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Thalen, J., van der Voort, M.: Facilitating user involvement in product design through virtual reality. In: Xinxing, T. (ed.) Virtual Reality - Human Computer Interaction, pp. 105–124. InTech (September 2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jos Thalen
    • 1
  • Mascha van der Voort
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations