Larry Constantine, of Constantine and Lockwood’s ForUse.com, has two new publications available for those interested in user centered design. In addition to the two links below, the site offers other popular essays, such as Beyond User-Centered Design and User Experience: Designing for User Performance
Abstract: User role models are compared in detail with the popular user modeling technique of personas. User roles offer a more compact, more focused means of capturing and exploring those aspects of users most relevant to interaction design. The advantages and limitations of the approaches are considered and a combined strategy is described.
The link goes to a page about it. The actual document is a chapter from the new Pruitt and Aldin book, The Persona Lifecycle, and is available in PDF format for immediate, free download.
Abstract: Activity modeling is a systematic approach to organizing and representing the contextual aspects of tool use that is both well-grounded in an accepted theoretical framework and embedded within a proven design method. Activity theory provides the vocabulary and conceptual framework for understanding the human use of tools and other artifacts. Usage-centered design provides the methodological scaffolding for applying activity theory in practice. In this Technical Paper, activity theory and usage-centered design are outlined and the connections between the two are highlighted. Simple extensions to the models of usage-centered design are introduced that together succinctly model the salient and most essential features of the activities within which tool use is embedded. Although not intended as a tutorial, examples of Activity Maps, Activity Profiles, and Participation Maps are provided.
This technical paper is also available in PDF format. The link above will provide you more information, and you can choose to download it from there.