Teaching User Centered Conceptual Design Using Cross-Cultural Personas and Peer Reviews for a Large Cohort of Students
It is important that Software Engineering and Information Technology students learn techniques to conceive solutions that are centered on the users. Users are often from many different cultures; hence an awareness of cultural differences is an important concept for students to grasp. Particularly when class sizes are large, access to users that would allow the students to practice User-Centered design principles is not feasible. Different methodologies must be pursued to teach students the principles of design. This paper presents peer review and personas, archetypical users of an application, as techniques for teaching User-Centered conceptual design to a large cohort of students. We provided a persona from a set of six personas, each authored to represent two different cultures (Australian or Vietnamese), to 153 undergraduate students at an Australian university to conceive design solutions for the persona. Later, the students were exposed to all of the personas and then they peer reviewed each other’s design artifacts. From the comments left by the students we conclude that the technique has met its learning objectives.