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Using AI as a User Research Tool

Tool: ChatGPT

Role: User Researcher

Future Utility

The goal of this ongoing project is to experiment with AI as part of the design process and find a way that I could use it to assist me in future user research of a product. The objectives of this project are:

  1. To create User Personas using AI

  2. Train the AI to answer as one of the Personas

  3. Conduct a final User Interview with the AI

The Product

Before we can get into creating personas, we need to know what the product is that we will be testing and interviewing about. For the sake of this project, I would like to propose a new PC VR video game, with a strong cinematic setting and light action scenes, with some spatial puzzle solving. This would be similar to games like Half Life: Alyx or Resident Evil 4 VR.

The goal of Half Life Alyx is to have a immersive, cinematic experience within a grim atmosphere. While this may be intense at times, it is not a competitive game.

Laying the Groundwork

What are Personas?

Personas have been a long time tool for User Research. The definition of a User Persona is usually a fictional representation of a defined demographic that a particular product or service will be targeted at. This often originates with common behaviors or special interest among a group. User personas help design teams better understand their target audience and make more informed decisions about product development and design.

"What's my motivation?"

Not all gamers are the same. Different gamers have different goals when playing a game. Some prefer just pure competition, winning in a multiplayer game is all that matters to them. Others, prefer a laid back, relaxing experience, where they can progress at their own pace, no pressure.

 

For this project, based on the Quantic Foundry chart of player motivations, I will be focusing on the "Slayer" and "Bounty Hunter" gamer archetypes. These types of gamers prefer a single-player experience with a strong story/fantasy and major cinematic moments, explosions optional, but preferred.

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Creating User Personas

Cast of Characters

Having defined the product, the type of game, and the type of users we would like feedback from, it is time to now create our personas. AI is really only as good as the information you feed it. In order to maximize its potential, it needs strong and defined inputs to get strong and defined outputs. Starting with a defined audience and defined product will definitely help us here.

After a couple iterations, referencing different types of games and tastes, I got 2 personas that I really liked. Some of the statements between them are repeated, but this is to be expected, they are geared towards the same taste. Some statements that stood out are:

  • "Often listens to game music outside of gaming sessions"

  • "Enjoys discussion games with others online and attending gaming events and conventions"

While our fictional product is not geared towards either of those interests, it is good to be aware of the larger community and the desires of the outliers.

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The Interview

Siri, play "Eye of the Tiger"

Queue up training montage time! I am currently in the process of training a ChatGPT model based on these personas. Once I have suffeciently vetted the model for each of these personas, I will conduct user interviews and publish the results here. Stay tuned!

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