personas for an Intranet

28 Jul 2006 - 1:11pm
7 years ago
11 replies
1279 reads
Leah Cunningham
2006

Hi all,

I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these and
the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in which a
user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The
client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they have
in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a hard
time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all, if I
am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help support
my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Leah

Comments

28 Jul 2006 - 1:23pm
Akanowicz Ron
2005

I'd say you're closer to being right that your client. Creating a persona
for every job role would be a waste of time because there would be a lot
of overlap in what those personas are doing.

Personas are not meant to represent each and every end user- but the
typical or primary end users.

I'm not clear on your approach (by task).

I would probably create two primary personas and a secondary persona. One
persona would most likely be a new employee who needs to do things like
set up his 401k, update personal information, sign up for employee savings
accounts, etc. The other persona would be someone who's worked for the
company for a few years, has all the basics set up and may need to go to
the intranet site for things like filing dental forms, adding a spouse to
insurance, etc.

A secondary persona may be a non-standard employee, like a contactor, or
an admin who might not have access to everything.

good luck!

Ron

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hi all,
>
>
>
> I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these
> and
> the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in which
> a
> user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The
> client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they
> have
> in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a hard
> time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all, if
> I
> am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help
> support
> my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
> argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.
>
>
>
> Can anyone help?
>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Leah
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

Ron Akanowicz
Usability Consultant
Softerware Consulting, PA

28 Jul 2006 - 1:26pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Leah,

My approach would be to induldge the client and track or list all of the activities (are they paying you by the hour or is this a contract that is missing this criteria?) and then work with them to prioritize the list into primary, secondary and not so much. This can help a client decide what sort of resources they want to allocate. If you need some graphic or current 'convince speak' you might try citing some of the stuff from Chris Anderson's "the long tail".

This is primarily a client management issue as there is no way anyone would allocate budget to accomodate everyone. Further, you would end up with an incredibly watered down user experience... and make the few frequent asks be dominated by a lot of rarely used functionality.

my 2 cents

Mark

On Friday, July 28, 2006, at 11:12AM, Leah Cunningham <lcunningham at sequelstudio.com> wrote:

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>Hi all,
>
>
>
>I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these and
>the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in which a
>user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The
>client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they have
>in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a hard
>time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all, if I
>am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help support
>my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
>argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.
>
>
>
>Can anyone help?
>
>
>
>Thanks,
>
>Leah
>
>
>
>
>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

28 Jul 2006 - 1:29pm
jim muntone
2006

I don't know any specific research on how many is a golden number, but
you could try doing a few and using those as examples to the client to
demonstrate how similar their behavior's are, hopefully, proving your
point.

Usually once a client sees how a number of behavioral/motivational
issues can exist within a single person, they'll get that you can
probably just get away with things like "worker" and "manager" over
doing 500 for each title in the organization. Especially since they're
probably paying you by the hour...

Best of luck, I kind of miss client work, but then I hear stuff like
this, and I'm glad to be working "in-house" so to speak :)

-j

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Leah Cunningham
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 2:12 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] personas for an Intranet

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

Hi all,

I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these
and
the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in
which a
user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each.
The
client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they
have
in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a
hard
time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all,
if I
am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help
support
my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Leah

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

28 Jul 2006 - 1:28pm
Dave Cronin
2005

I certainly agree that your approach is correct.

One of most powerful aspects of using personas is the fact that they are
meant to be archetypes-- a persona represents the needs of a whole bunch
of people who share common behaviors and motivations.

For a set of personas to be an effective design tool, it should be as
small and as focused as possible. If there are too many personas it will
be difficult to make sure you are focused on the specific needs of each
when you try to use them to make design decisions.

The key thing that your colleague is missing is that if two users share
the same behaviors with respect to the portal, have the same motivations
for using the portal and have the same attitudes and aptitudes, they
should be represented by a single persona.

-dave

__________

Cooper | Product Design for a Digital World

David Cronin
Director of Interaction Design

office (415) 267 3504
mobile (415) 699 3036
dave at cooper.com | www.cooper.com

All information in this message is proprietary & confidential.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On
> Behalf Of Leah Cunningham
> Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 11:12 AM
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] personas for an Intranet
>
>
> I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a
> lot of these and the client has never done it. I have
> identified four primary ways in which a user would interact
> with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The client
> however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role
> they have in the company. We are going back and forth on this
> and I am having a hard time articulating my argument. First
> of all, am I right? Second of all, if I am right I'd be
> interested in some concrete examples that will help support
> my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
> argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.

28 Jul 2006 - 1:31pm
Todd Warfel
2003

We create a unique persona when the behaviors, goals, wants, and/or
needs are unique enough to warrant it.

We just had this conversation with a client (who has a large research
group). The researcher's made it clear that "there's no way you can
chop us up into 2-3 nice little groups." We had to make it clear to
them that we don't go in with the intention of dicing them up into
2-3 groups (personas, profiles). Instead, through the research
process, we look for patterns in behaviors, goals, wants, needs, and
pain points. We let the data show us where the distinctions are. The
data will tell us whether there needs to be 1, 2-3, 5-8, or possibly
more.

Personas are less about job roles, or business silos, and more about
behavior (goals, wants, needs) patterns. You might have more than one
persona per role, or you could have one persona that actually
represents more than one role. If you do the work to analyze the data
for behaviors, goals, wants, needs, and pain points, it will tell you
how many you need.

Incidentally, we recently did a set of 7 personas for a client.
During the review they "identified 3 more" we "needed." So, we
developed them. After a week of reviewing the 10 on their own, they
came back and realized that the behaviors and goals were similar
enough, that distilling it back down to the original 7 with some
minor adjustments would cover their entire audience.

On Jul 28, 2006, at 2:11 PM, Leah Cunningham wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of
> these and
> the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways
> in which a
> user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for
> each. The
> client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role
> they have
> in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having
> a hard
> time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of
> all, if I
> am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help
> support
> my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
> argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.
>
> Can anyone help?
>
> Thanks,
> Leah

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

28 Jul 2006 - 1:34pm
Juan Lanus
2005

Hi Leah,
I want to drop some comments.

1- Personas are synthetic users, useful when you don't have access to
the actual users. In most of my work I can meet the real, actual,
users, ans thus I do not need to develop personas.
Anyway, I have used the persona approach designing for some real
users. Once, many years ago, we were building a payroll package and
the chief user was a really very difficult woman named Isolina. When a
developer presented me a contrived approach I'd tell him "OK, but you
will have to explain this to Isolina" and the redesign started
immediatly.
The message here is: identify some real people and design for them;
save yourself the work of assigning them an age ans a work and the
like.

2- "four primary ways in which a user would interact with the site and
I want to do a persona for each"
Not four ways a user can, but four different users. IMO you might be
putting the cart in front of the horses.
The idea is that the users, either personas or people, they will tell
you how they will use the system.
Should you already know this, then you'd be done and all what's left
is to build the software.

3- You can't ask an employee or a persona what do they expect from an
intranet. You have to find it out from the outcome of a series of
interviews with both the users and the company offices that want to
interact with the employees. Then the user's opinions can be gathered,
sort of lo-fi user testing.
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

On 7/28/06, Leah Cunningham <lcunningham at sequelstudio.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Hi all,
>
>
>
> I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these and
> the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in which a
> user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The
> client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they have
> in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a hard
> time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all, if I
> am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help support
> my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
> argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.
>
>
>
> Can anyone help?
>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Leah
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

28 Jul 2006 - 1:54pm
Kim Goodwin
2004

Hi, Leah.

It's not surprising that your client wants a huge cast of personas--not
only is persona/role misunderstanding common, but intranets are as
political in their own way as corporate sites. Everyone wants their
department explicitly represented by one or more personas.

You're absolutely right that you don't need every job in the company
represented by a persona. Whether you're right that there are only 4, I
couldn't say. It depends on the company and just how complicated their
idea of an intranet is. On projects for big companies where intranets
cover much more than corporate information and directories--such as a
wide range of employee self-service and even collaboration tools--Cooper
teams have seen 6 to 8 personas become necessary.

You have to connect the dots between research and personas for your
stakeholders. That way, it's not about who's right or wrong, but is just
about the data.

For example, if one persona frequently needs directory information,
occasionally needs to get benefits information or order business cards,
and couldn't care less about company news, tell your stakeholders about
the range of people who fit that pattern. Perhaps two people in
accounting, one in sales, one in marketing, and one in manufacturing
were all like that. If you have another persona whose goals are to know
everything about the company and join every company event and volleyball
team, tell stakeholders how you saw another marketing staffer and two
folks in manufacturing who thought and behaved that way. When
stakeholders see how behavior patterns cut across job functions, it
should make the point.

Of course, there may be a few job functions that map closely to behavior
patterns. For example, on a couple of intranet projects, we've found the
executive assistants had unique behaviors because they used the
intranets for themselves as well as on behalf of the people they
supported.

Good luck!

Kim

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Leah Cunningham
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 11:12 AM

I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these
and
the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in
which a
user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each.
The
client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they
have
in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a
hard
time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all,
if I
am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help
support
my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Leah

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

28 Jul 2006 - 1:58pm
Marijke Rijsberman
2004

To get any use out of the persona work, you need to be one level up from the
job role in terms of abstraction.

I've done a lot of work for an intranet project and found that there are
three major personas in the software dev company that I worked with, based
on how they interact with the intranet:
- general administrative personnel and managers
- software engineers
- customer service reps

The first group is the primary persona, because they use the intranet very
heavily for all sorts of things and they all set it as their homepage. (BTW:
this is a very standard sort of intranet we're talking about--central
publishing, company info, needs to be reliable and hook into all the
applications people have to use to get all their stuff done.)

The other two are secondary personas: they are really anchored in other
environments and use the intranet more intermittently, mostly for HR stuff.
They are the same in that regard, but different in that they have a totally
different mindset about how to get stuff done.

Once you started putting Web2.0 tools into the mix, the whole story changes
and the personas probably shake out differently.

I'm guessing there is a similar kind of story for different kinds of
companies. There are undoubtedly different contingents of people rather than
the software engineers and customer service reps, but the general admin
folks are probably a constant most places.

Marijke

28 Jul 2006 - 2:05pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Heheh, that's interesting. We typically meet real people (customers,
users) as well and actually use those as one of our three data inputs
for creating personas.

In our work, personas are just as much a design tool for us, as a
communication tool to the business. We pretty much don't do any
projects anymore w/o developing personas.

On Jul 28, 2006, at 2:34 PM, Juan Lanus wrote:

> In most of my work I can meet the real, actual,
> users, ans thus I do not need to develop personas.

Cheers!

Todd R. Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | designing and usability consulting
--------------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (607) 339-9640
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
--------------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

28 Jul 2006 - 2:07pm
AlokJain
2006

Leah,

A lot of people have already replied on basis for defining the
persona, optimal # (or lack of it), so am not responding at that
level.

My 2 cents would be on how to sell this to the client (you'' have to
see what will click wit your client though)-
a) there are sample personas available on t he web done by some very
good agencies.. share those with clients as what is happening outside
http://www.avenuea-razorfish.com/articles/010305_Quality_Personas.pdf

b) any specific research on how to construct persona - Cooper has good
articles ofcourse

c) Do a quick persona of both and highlight overlaps in role based
view and how that will impact design decision. A storytelling
approach helps.. instead of conceptual discussions where it's your
opinion v/s theirs..

essentially bring some facts into the discussions

Hope it helps..

Regards
Alok Jain
-------------------------------------
http://www.iprincipia.com

28 Jul 2006 - 7:41pm
dszuc
2005

Hi Leah:

Kim makes a good point on "connecting the dots between research and
personas" indicating the need to conduct *research*.

We have seen repeatable data patterns come from a series of interviews with
about 20-30 people in a company to help guide what people need from either
internet/intranet. You can also consider crafting your initial set of
questions to help inform the Home Page content and the primary navigation
specifically. My guess is it will be difficult to satisfy all questions from
all staff via the Home Page, but it will probably start to give insights
into the critical content needs around key personas.

Rgds,
Daniel Szuc
Principal Usability Consultant
Apogee Usability Asia Ltd
www.apogeehk.com
'Usability in Asia'

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Kim
Goodwin
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 2:54 AM
To: Leah Cunningham; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] personas for an Intranet

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Hi, Leah.

It's not surprising that your client wants a huge cast of personas--not only
is persona/role misunderstanding common, but intranets are as political in
their own way as corporate sites. Everyone wants their department explicitly
represented by one or more personas.

You're absolutely right that you don't need every job in the company
represented by a persona. Whether you're right that there are only 4, I
couldn't say. It depends on the company and just how complicated their idea
of an intranet is. On projects for big companies where intranets cover much
more than corporate information and directories--such as a wide range of
employee self-service and even collaboration tools--Cooper
teams have seen 6 to 8 personas become necessary.

You have to connect the dots between research and personas for your
stakeholders. That way, it's not about who's right or wrong, but is just
about the data.

For example, if one persona frequently needs directory information,
occasionally needs to get benefits information or order business cards, and
couldn't care less about company news, tell your stakeholders about the
range of people who fit that pattern. Perhaps two people in accounting, one
in sales, one in marketing, and one in manufacturing were all like that. If
you have another persona whose goals are to know everything about the
company and join every company event and volleyball team, tell stakeholders
how you saw another marketing staffer and two folks in manufacturing who
thought and behaved that way. When stakeholders see how behavior patterns
cut across job functions, it should make the point.

Of course, there may be a few job functions that map closely to behavior
patterns. For example, on a couple of intranet projects, we've found the
executive assistants had unique behaviors because they used the intranets
for themselves as well as on behalf of the people they supported.

Good luck!

Kim

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Leah
Cunningham
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 11:12 AM

I'm doing personas for an intranet portal. I haven't done a lot of these and
the client has never done it. I have identified four primary ways in which a
user would interact with the site and I want to do a persona for each. The
client however, wants to do a persona for every specific job role they have
in the company. We are going back and forth on this and I am having a hard
time articulating my argument. First of all, am I right? Second of all, if I
am right I'd be interested in some concrete examples that will help support
my argument. I've made the "don't try to be all things to all people"
argument to no avail. I think I need to be more specific.

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Leah

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription
Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription
Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

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