Contextual Personas as a Method for Understanding Digital Work Environments

  • Åsa CajanderEmail author
  • Marta Larusdottir
  • Elina Eriksson
  • Gerolf Nauwerck
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 468)


The role of IT at the workplace has changed dramatically from being a tool within the work environment to include all aspects of social and private life. New workplaces emerge where IT becomes more and more divergent, embedded and pervasive. These new aspects of IT at work need to be addressed with new or adapted human centred activities. This paper present and discuss a modified version of personas called contextual personas developed to better address the new working life. The contextual personas were developed using contextual inquiry, and focus groups as well as argumentative design. From the process of developing the contextual personas we learned that they are indeed a promising tool to understand the new work situations, and especially the holistic view of IT at work as they bring the whole working-life of the personas into focus. Finally, we discuss in what way the contextual personas could give developers extended understanding of the users’ future office work environment.


Personas Digital work environment Usability 



This study was made with financial support from Uppsala University Administration through the KiA project (Quality in Use). We would like to thank everyone that participated in the interview study, and those who have given valuable input to this paper. We would also like to thank the illustrator, Maria Osk Jonsdottir, for her professional work on illustrating the faces of the personas.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Åsa Cajander
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marta Larusdottir
    • 2
  • Elina Eriksson
    • 3
  • Gerolf Nauwerck
    • 1
  1. 1.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Reykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.KTH – Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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