Role or Usage Based Personas

22 Dec 2010 - 7:21am
3 years ago
7 replies
1662 reads
jstrande
2007

I recently saw an example of personas done from a usage occassion as opposed to being role based - so instead of "Mike - Salesperon" or "Tammy - Student", it was done from the perspective of segmentation of audience based on their usage, "Sam - loyal book buyer" or "Mary - occassional reader".

Is this just really a semantic difference??

I've always done personas based on role, however I've got a project that has potentially 12 - 15 of different roles, with several of them falling into a more generic "Producer" & "Consumer" buckets (I don't want to be that generic, because not all consumers have the same needs, nor do the producers).

I'm wondering what the group thinks about fewer, usage-based, personas where I would lose some of the depth of the individual roles, to focus on a few core personas about how people will be using the system: "Plan Creator", "Team Member", "Frequent Publisher", "Occassional Browser" - or something like that?.

This is for a very large, internal, cross-department application.

Does that make sense??

Thank you in advance!

Jon

Comments

22 Dec 2010 - 8:12am
holger_maassen
2010

Hi Jon,

each method can make sense - You should always ask yourself what method supports you best.

That depends on your ...

  • task
  • client
  • client's business
I developed personas based on an usage occasion - especially in cases of intranets, CMS-tools and software apps.
I wish you success!
Holger

 

22 Dec 2010 - 9:06am
jstrande
2007

Thank you Holger!

Reading the articles now, I appreciate the reply!!

Have a great day!

Jon

On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 8:33 AM, holger_maassen <holger.maassen@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Jon,

each method can make sense - You should always ask yourself what method supports you best.

That depends on your ...

* task
* client
* client's business

I developed personas based on an usage occasion - especially in cases of intranets, CMS-tools and software apps. http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-personas-matter.html [1] http://boxesandarrows.com/view/ux-design-planning [2] I wish you success! Holger
 

(
22 Dec 2010 - 3:03pm
lkruger
2009

hi Jon,

I like the idea of usage-based personas. I tend to create personas based on user needs which I suppose is more usage-based than role-based. So, I only create a distinct persona if I discover a unique set of needs for the site or tool. Otherwise, I think it's easy to get hung up on the demographics or character description of each persona.

For example, let's say my client has a group of young, college-aged users who want to use the site for the same purpose as a group of senior visitors. Even though there are 2 distinct profiles for these audiences, only one persona would likely be required. of course, there are always exceptions and per the comment above - it depends on what works best for you. based on your short description though, I think usage-based is the way to go. first instinct is usually best!

Lacey Kruger

Senior Information Architect

Convio, Inc.

lkruger@convio.com

512.652.7801

 

22 Dec 2010 - 3:18pm
jstrande
2007

Lacey,

Cool - thank you for the reply!! Yeah, I'm probably going to end up doing the usage ones! 

Love the comment about first instincts! :-)

Jon

23 Dec 2010 - 3:08pm
Paul Eisen
2007

I totally agree with the posted replies here. In fact I often wonder if designers aren't too quick to default to role-based personas, which are often driven by market segments or role definitions, rather than a behaviorally-oriented break-down.

23 Dec 2010 - 10:52pm
Jeremy White
2008
Your personas just need to be useful. What information about users will help you make good design decisions? It doesn't matter what you call it.
24 Dec 2010 - 9:15am
jstrande
2007

Paul & Jeremy,

Thank you both for the replies!!

Happy Holidays!

Jon

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