From the Fluid Project, a CollectionSpace partner: "Personas are a way to model users' goals based on user and domain research. Along with guiding the design, they are a means of communicating what is being learned with the larger community . Personas are detailed descriptions of archetypical people constructed out of well-understood, highly specific patterns of data about real people. The goal of user profiling, of creating personas, is to make user-centered design possible."
Contextual inquiry interviews with and observations of the collection management system users will assist the design team with person development and workflow analysis. From the Fluid Project wiki: "In a contextual inquiry, the interviewer goes to the user and interviews them where they do their work – sometimes referred to as "in the wild." The idea is to interview users in the context of their work, while they are performing their tasks, asking them questions about what they are doing and why (when necessary) along the way...Contextual inquiry is basically a structured field interviewing method, based on a few core principles that differentiate this method from plain, journalistic interviewing. It is based on the master-apprentice model of learning: observing and asking questions of the user as if she is the master craftsman and the interviewer is the new apprentice. It is more a discovery process than an evaluative process; more like learning than testing."