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DSN 01 W — Design Workshop: Creating Personas and Journey Maps

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 1 week
Date(s): Jun 24—Jun 30
Drop Deadline: Jun 24
Unit: 1
Tuition: $385
Instructor(s): Christopher Ireland
Limit: 25
Status: Closed
Please Note: This short online course has a special refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Jun 24—Jun 30
1 week
Drop By
Jun 24
1 Unit
Christopher Ireland
Please Note: This short online course has a special refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
When designing products, our own unique life experiences and subjective perspective can risk clouding our sense of what other customers may truly want or need. User-focused companies have addressed this challenge by developing tools and techniques to help designers more easily put themselves into the shoes of others in order to create user-friendly products with more widespread appeal. Two such tools, journey maps and personas, can help designers envision—with a high level of precision and empathy—who their customers are as people and what their daily lives are like.

In this one-week course, students will learn the rationale behind these two design tools and how to leverage them most effectively in product design. We will look first at how designers create “personas” or composite profiles of potential customers, taking into consideration details like home life, career, political leanings, clothing style, and how they spend their leisure time. This creates greater empathy for customers’ needs, wants, motivations, and behavior. Meanwhile, journey maps can help detail the many steps people take from the first time they identify a need—even something as minor as being hungry and wanting a snack—until they are finally able to fulfill it. Each student will be encouraged to create a persona and a journey map for a product of their choice, and will receive instructor feedback to help refine their results.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 25 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

The course is appropriate for marketers, designers, and program managers, or anyone working toward these positions.

Students will need to log in at least every other day to review course materials and submit assignments. Please see the course syllabus for more details. Students should expect to spend ten to twelve hours on the course.

Christopher Ireland, Adjunct Professor, Design, California College of the Arts; Co-Founder, Cheskin; Founder, Mix & Stir Studio

Christopher Ireland is a co-author of Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design and China’s New Culture of Cool. Previously, she was a founding partner and CEO of Cheskin, a consultancy focused on design innovation that supported Microsoft, Intel, PepsiCo, and Apple, among others. Ireland received an MBA from UCLA.