Personas creation process for online application

27 Oct 2010 - 3:58am
4 years ago
6 replies
3045 reads
makabde
2009

Hi all,

I am currently working on personas for my company's online software in order to help us to understand and know in an accurate way our users. For that work I will conduct face to face interviews with selected clients/users

Because our software contains advanced functionality that are not used by all users; I am wondering which process should I adopt in creating these personas.

Should I create 4-5 personas for each feature that we are re-designing or should I work on overall set of personas that will be refined for each feature.

Thanks for your answers

Comments

27 Oct 2010 - 4:05pm
burlapdesign
2010

On Oct 27, 2010 5:55 AM, "makabde" <makram.abde@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi all,

I am currently working on personas for my company's online software in order to help us to understand and know in an accurate way our users. For that work I will conduct face to face interviews with selected clients/users

Because our software contains advanced functionality that are not used by all users; I am wondering which process should I adopt in creating these personas.

Should I create 4-5 personas for each feature that we are re-designing or should I work on overall set of personas that will be refined for each feature.

Thanks for your answers

27 Oct 2010 - 4:05pm
burlapdesign
2010

I would go with something like 4/5 of the users being the "regular " users and an advanced user for the advanced features.
That's an off the cuff answer you will probably get a better idea of your users after interviews and other research

On Oct 27, 2010 5:55 AM, "makabde" <makram.abde@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi all,

I am currently working on personas for my company's online software in order to help us to understand and know in an accurate way our users. For that work I will conduct face to face interviews with selected clients/users

Because our software contains advanced functionality that are not used by all users; I am wondering which process should I adopt in creating these personas.

Should I create 4-5 personas for each feature that we are re-designing or should I work on overall set of personas that will be refined for each feature.

Thanks for your answers

28 Oct 2010 - 9:16am
smitty777
2010

Hi makabde, 

The focus of the personas should be the "prototypical user" not the features.  You need to do some searching of your user base, and divide them into the most useful representative groups.  I was building up a set of personas for an HR application, for example.  We had personas for managers, employees, HR workers, and HR managers.  It was basically divided by the types of tasks each person would be doing.  You might even want to go more fine-grained than that (e.g., advanced employees, n00b employees, etc).   The point is to attempt to get the development team to look at the software from the perspective of these different groups. 

HTH, 

//Bill

28 Oct 2010 - 1:16pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

I respectfully disagree with Bill on two things: Driving personas with a functional focus and using personas to define "representative groups".

We've been studying how teams successfully employ personas and constrasting them against dozens of failed persona projects.

We've found the most successful persona projects focus there personas around specific functionality. Because you want your personas to describe the behaviors of the users, having specific functionality lets you drive the description to more meaningful and useful levels.

For example, if you're working on the design of patient support systems for a hospital, you might focus on the appointment-booking functions. Or you might focus on the Choose-Your-Doctor functions. It's very likely, if you do your research right, that your research participants will cluster differently around the two separate functions. For example, choosing your doctor might need to take into account chronic illnesses or diagnosis support, whereas making an appointment doesn't need to take the behaviors related to condition into account, but might need to support repeat visits (such as rehab) versus one-time appointments.

Along these lines, "representative groups by roles" is probably the wrong approach. Again, you want to interview as many folks as you can, then look for attributes that differentiate one study participant from another. These attributes will become the basis of your persona groups.

Clustering by roles is a common trap that is found in many of the failed persona projects, since the roles are rarely how the behaviors divide up. The quickest way to get to non-useful personas is to start with traditional roles or demographic divisions.

Hope that helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool@uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com  Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks  Twitter: @jmspool

29 Oct 2010 - 7:05am
William Hudson
2009

I have to agree with Jared. I'm collecting data from real users for my persona-driven design workshop and it is clear to me (looking at this data) that you have to choose your personas according to what is important for your solution. (Jared's appointment booking versus choose-your-doctor examples.)

Personas based on roles just aren't going to cut it, nor is any attempt to define personas based on demographics (a favourite marketing approach to personas). User behaviours and solution functionality are key.

You might want to have a look at John Pruitt and Tamara Adlin's The Persona Lifecycle book. It's quite a big volume, but has some useful ideas such as persona-weighted feature matrices.

Regards,

William Hudson Syntagm Ltd User Experience Strategist UK 01235-522859 World +44-1235-522859 US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM Web www.syntagm.co.uk/design Email william.hudson@syntagm.co.uk Skype williamhudsonskype Twitter SyntagmUCD

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985). Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon OX14 2DS.

UX, UCD and Usability Courses in London, Hamburg and Vancouver www.syntagm.co.uk/design/schedule.shtml

4 Nov 2010 - 7:23am
makabde
2009

Hi all,

I have been through busy days this last time and I wanted to take the time to thank you all for your useful answers.

At this point I am still working on the Information Architecture side and preparing the interviews I will lead with some of our internal and external users in order to define asap a first set of persona. As you all know, this work is not an easy one and ask some efforts to be performed correctly.

I am currently diving in all the references you gave me.

And again thanks for your answers.

Regards,

Makram Abdennabi - User Experience Manager - Emailvision 

 

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