I blogged today about usability, noting that usability is a multi-objective optimization problem. The multiple objectives are defined by having multiple user types (the proper term is persona) in biology. We have, without any judgement, Excel users, R hackers, workflow designers, the absolute novice student, etc, etc. You all know them, as they are all present on this forum.
Each user type has their own set of requirements: good looks, a clean API, etc. All at various levels: it must support .xsl files; we need SOAP access; it must comply to our minimal reporting standards. Etc, etc.
Now, I was wondering if some templates have been developed defining a number of common user types in biology. I am unaware of such in chemistry. Do such models exist already? Where have these been published?
Just as an example of what we should be thinking about it this post by Lars Wirzenius. While he talks about roles rather than user types, it does exactly what we should be doing: identify users or user roles to see how these map to requirements. In this post he identifies a new user type, with a different role. Lars lists these roles:
These come from the Unix/mainframe model. User types I am thinking of (user types can have multiple roles, and one role can be performed in different ways, and thus with different requirements, by different user types):
- bench biologist
- data analyst
- bioinformatic software developer
They will all have different requirements for a certain joined platform.