Personas and Scenarios for Improved User Satisfaction: A Master Thesis on How Statens IT can Improve Their IT Platform

Helena Bianca Fuchs

Student thesis: Master thesis


Statens IT is the Danish government's internal IT service provider. Statens IT provides service to 17,000 users. It is expected that the user base will grow by an additional 17,000 users over the next couple of years, once Statens IT becomes the sole service provider of nearly all ministries. However, surveys on user satisfaction has shown that the users are dissatisfied with Statens IT's main IT service platform, the "Serviceportal". This thesis examines the potential of a user-centered design approach, more specifically the application of personas and scenarios, to improve the users' satisfaction with the Serviceportal. The aim of the user-centered design approach is to ensure that the end-user can utilize the product or service as intended and with a minimum of effort learn how to use it. To achieve this, you must understand the user of the system, his/her characteristics, needs and goals. On the basis of Statens IT's questionnaire on user satisfaction with the Serviceportal, I conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with selected users who had filled in the questionnaire. I communicated the data gathered from the interviews to a focus group by using personas and scenarios. The conclusion is that the use of personas and scenarios can (i) assist in communicating the users' needs, (ii) assist in defining the problems at hand, (iii) assist in figuring out why the users' challenges arose in the first place, (iv) foster ideas on how to solve the problems identified, (v) create awareness on the identified problems across different working fields within the organization, and (vi) possibly be used as a tool to persuade the organization of the importance of a user-centered perspective when designing IT solutions. However, it should be noted that applying personas and scenarios within a group with pre-existent knowledge of the users may entail an in-built risk of implementing a self-referential design, which incidentally is what you would use personas and scenarios to avoid. Moreover, if Serviceportalen is to be re-designed with a user-centered approach in mind, certain organization barriers must be overcome. The main barrier is that the budget assigned to Serviceportalen has been downprioritized by Statens IT's management. This study shows that initial investigations of users' needs and challenges can be carried out without a heavy use of resources. However, the actual re-design of the Serviceportal will likely be resource-demanding. If Statens IT resolves to implement the use of personas and scenarios to improve the Serviceportal, Statens IT may potentially increase user satisfaction, both in respect of existing users, but also as concerns new users to be added in the coming years, who will have new challenges and needs that Statens IT must accommodate. Furthermore, a well-functioning Serviceportal may also contribute to a reduction of the resources spent on Statens IT's servicedesk.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages173
SupervisorsMads Bødker