Getto, G. and C. Moore (2017). “Mapping Personas: Designing UX Relationships for an Online Coastal Atlas.” Computers and Composition 43: 15-34.

               <p>Following the emerging importance of networks to digital rhetoric, we theorize user experience (UX) design as a form of networked rhetoric. By networked rhetoric, we mean the act of tracing rhetorical impacts between human and nonhuman actors within networks. While researching emerging trends in this area, we were asked to conduct a usability study of an online coastal atlas. During this research project, we found that the atlas was not usable for many of its core user base, and were able to help the atlas’s development team to rethink their application based on the relationships they wanted users to be able to form with this emerging system. Through our discussion of this research within the purview of networked rhetoric, we provide implications for other digital rhetoricians interested in helping to craft better user experiences for their colleagues, students, and community partners.</p>

  • Key claim: UXD as networked rhetoric. Or, “the act of tracing rhetorical impacts between human and nonhuman actors within networks” (15).
  • The authors used usability tests and interviews to develop personas and create prototypes for their client that putatively better represented the needs of their user segments. (16) In so doing, they were also considering how UX might be useful for folks studying/teaching networked digital rhetoric.
  • OF NOTE: The authors argue that a dearth of academic literature has focused on the UX lifecycle/process, including persona development (16).
  • Basically, by paying attention to the human (user) and nonhuman (digitech GIS) they’re able to harness UX to do more with usability in the context of this coastal atlas.
  • Simplified UX lifecycle: research, prototyping, testing, maintenance. (17)
  • KEY QUOTE: “this means that the UX process is now, more than ever, a fundamentally rhetorical process, meaning one grounded in probabilistic reasoning and persuasion” (17).
  • KEY QUOTE: “Here, digital rhetoricians have a real opportunity to provide their students, colleagues, and community partners with UX best practices, rhetorical moves, and means of visualizing complex systems” (17).
  • Method:
    • Goal: understand the contexts of different kinds of users for the atlas & visualize the relationships between users that might facilitate a better user experience.
    • Contextual inquiry was the main methodology.
  • The authors follow Quesenbery (2014) in “combining user interviews with usability tests, specifically by asking users about their experiences after a usability test has been conducted” (19).
  • The authors used UXPin’s persona development framework.
  • The authors ended up creating interactive documentation of the software as a means of connecting novice users with the kinds of data produced by expert users.
  • KEY IDEA (this one’s an oldie): Contemporary digital applications function as services, not products (28).