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Library Technology Services: User Stories, Personas, & UX

Resources from Library Technology Services, for library employees

Personas & User Stories - Core Parts of Agile

Personas are used extensively in user experience, marketing, and system design. A persona gives a name, face, and situated example of a user group. These can be extensively researched, or done quickly to help in testing processes. Personas and user stories are core parts of agile, to prevent against ungrounded change and opinions, working from concrete information, testability, and validation, to work towards places of information and success. For more, see

For LTS purposes, we use very brief personas to define a specific fictional person (e.g., an undergraduate student and their needs, instead of all undergraduate students) to allow for situativity and actionable data based on testing with that persona.

Then, for testing, the process combines the person with the standard elements of a user story: As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.

This is testable, and can be evaluated in concrete terms for pass, fail, or concrete data for changes. Organizational cases are larger, and are outside of the application. 

For example, for the UF Digital Collections:

Type Example Notes
User Persona I am Frank, a PhD student in Chemistry. Succinct, clear, named
Org. case As a PhD student in Chemistry, I want to see recent Chemistry dissertations so that I can use them in thinking through my PhD writing plan. Like most folks, I start with Google and search for UF dissertation chemistry 2020. The first result is: and it takes me to the ETD page, which takes me to the catalog, and then to the UF Digital Collections. Useful, but too abstract and not focused on UFDC
User stories

As a graduate student looking for a dissertation in my area, I am on the UFDC homepage. I want to search using the main search box (for dissertation chemisty 2020) so that I get results that I can view with some metadata and filter or sort:

As a graduate student, once I have the results, I want to be able to click into an item, so that I can get more information on that item.

As a graduate student, I want to have a permanent link, so that I have it for future reference.

As a graduate student, on the item, I want to be able to view a PDF of a recent dissertation, or to download or view in my browser, so that I can most easily use the document for my needs.

Testing is on results of search, and then on how Frank gets from the results to the items, and how Frank uses the items

Another example: Emilia

Type Example Notes
User Persona I am Emilia, a children's literature collector. Succinct, clear
Org. case As a children's literature collector, I want to see digitized children's books to help determine how much to bid at a fine book auction on the same editions for my collection. Useful context, but not focused on UFDC
User stories

(Added persona: As an expert in children's books, so I know about the Baldwin Digital Collection, and go directly to it.)

As an advanced user, I always want to go directly to the collection and search from there, so that I only see items from the Baldwin.

As an advanced users, I use the Advanced Search, so that I can have the most exact results.

(Business case - Today, as a collector, I am considering bidding on a Rackham book on eBay, and I want to see more images of comparable editions, so that I can better consider how much I want to bid at auction.) As an advanced user, I want to be able to use Advanced Search to narrow by creator, so that I can see only results by a creator, and Rackham for this.

As a children's literature collector, in my search results, I want to see all of the items listed with pageable/sortable/filterable options, so that I can easily review.

As a collector, I want to be able to click on any given item, so that I can get more information.

As a collector, once on the item information page, I want to be able to see all of the page images, so that I can easily review to see how long the book is and it's contents.

As a collector, on the item, I want to be able to zoom in to individual images, so that I can examine the book to see any printer markings, edition information, and other important and often tiny details.

Testing can be done on:

collection page

Advanced Search



Further reading, see: 

University of Florida Home Page

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