Teaching Software Design with Holistic Personas

Software Design is one of the most important activities of Software Development lifecycle as the design decisions usually have significant impact on many other decisions to be made later on; most importantly software design facilities (or inhibits) the achievements of quality requirements expected of a system. hence, knowledgable and expert designers critical for any software development project. There has not been much work on software design education in Software Engineering curricula. Recently, Software Design education and training has been gaining significant attention, however, there is little guidance about how to design and carry out software design teaching. Whilst there are many approaches, tools, and techniques that need to be incorporated a suitable software design curriculum, we assert that incorporating Holistic Persona can be valuable tools for teaching software design, especially conceptual design. Personas are fictional characters that represent the needs of typical users of the software applications. Holistic persona are enriched with five dimensions: factual, personalities, intelligences, knowledge and cognitive processes, that aim to highlight the individual differences in users and the impact of these differences on conceptual design of software for fulfilling users’ needs. Our recent research, published in ICSE 2015 education track, has studied the role of holistic personas in teaching conceptual design and the findings provide encouraging directions and guidelines for incorporating holistic personas in conceptual design teaching and practice.