Understanding HCI

End User Profiling

What is End User Profiling?

End user profiling involves gaining an understanding and building a profile of the final users of the system in terms of age, gender, socio economic background, (dis)abilities, knowledge, skill set, frequency, interest and any other relevant information.

Why Use it?

If your interface/website/object has multiple audiences:

  1. profiling will reveal potential clashes of interest - educational website when viewed by parents, teachers and children will have to cater for each groups' different perspectives.
  2. you have a place from which to start making decisions/trade-offs

Participants Needed

  1. One expert with knowlege of similar systems and users.

Task List

Compile a list of qualities your users should have. Are they

  1. Expert / intermediate / novice users?
  2. old / young
  3. rich / poor
  4. frequent or intermittant users?
  5. male / female
  6. abled / disabled
  7. skilled / unskilled
  8. interested / uninterested
  9. attentive / easily distracted
  10. educated / uneducated
  11. foreign / native
  12. homogenous / heterogenous
  13. and any other relevant information

Keep in mind that some of they above might not be relevant for specific systems or interfaces.

  1. be specific
    1. anyone interested in buying a computer or peripherals and with the money to do it,
    2. children between 12 and 16 in the Dublin area, etc
  2. address any issues users might have
    1. kids - cool (animated?) interface
    2. novice - easy to navigate, not learning or memory intensive
    3. expert - detailed, up to date, relevant content

Conditions required

  1. One expert with knowlege of similar systems and users.
  2. If possible, survey results from Marketing indicating potential user profiles

Limitations Of method

  1. May be difficult to tell in advance who your audience is.


You are commissioned to design an interactive guide for a national science museum. In small groups of two or three, address the following issues:

  1. Who are the anticipated end users of the interactive guide?
  2. Who are the users of this type of museum? Are they the same people?
  3. What sort of situations are they likely to encounter in the museum?
  4. What are their expectations?
  5. Are there any cultural issues?
  6. Is there a dominant group that the client should focus on pleasing and if so why?
  7. Build a user profile from the information you gather