A hermeneutic inquiry into user-created personas in different Namibian locales

Daniel G Cabrero, Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Jose Abdelnour-Nocera, Gereon Koch Kapuire

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Persona is a tool broadly used in technology design to support communicational interactions between designers and users. Different Persona types and methods have evolved mostly in the Global North, and been partially deployed in the Global South every so often in its original User-Centred Design methodology. We postulate persona conceptualizations are expected to differ across cultures. We demonstrate this with an exploratory-case study on user-created persona co-designed with four Namibian ethnic groups: ovaHerero, Ovambo, ovaHimba and Khoisan. We follow a hermeneutic inquiry approach to discern cultural nuances from diverse human conducts. Findings reveal diverse self-representations whereby for each ethnic group results emerge in unalike fashions, viewpoints, recounts and storylines. This paper ultimately argues User-Created Persona as a potentially valid approach for pursuing cross-cultural depictions of personas that communicate cultural features and user experiences paramount to designing acceptable and gratifying technologies in dissimilar locales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference: Full papers-Volume 1
Number of pages10
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2016
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4046-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Persona
  • User-Centered Design
  • Cross-Cultural Design
  • User-Created Persona
  • Cultural Nuances


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