The team made a lot of progress this week. We chose a direction for the project and general idea of the problem we want to solve. After we made the decision Wednesday, we had a lot of work to really flesh out the problem we decided to address.

We sat down and developed an extensive list of potential barriers that might prevent readers and users from using a local news website like gazetteonline.com. Our consumer insights team began developing personas based on the surveys and interviews from people in cedar rapids and other consumer research. We then applied our list of barriers and personal perceptions to our personas, giving each one a personality.

We came up with around 25 personal barriers or feelings and narrowed our focus to these five:

  • Lack of interest in communication with strangers
  • Participation is intimidating
  • No pay-off or gratification from participation
  • Don’t think comments or participation from others is valuable
  • Don’t think comments or participation from others is believable

We came to these five based on what we personally thought would be interesting to address. In addition to picking our faves we also created a new survey for our volunteers in eastern Iowa in order to find out what barriers to participation and use of local news that they might experience. We are still waiting on the results from the survey.

We intend to cut these five down and prioritize them based on survey feedback. Hopefully we end up with two or three high level problems to specifically address with the software we build.

We have a lot of ideas on how to address the all problems we identified, some come from our Pie Social idea, but other good ones came out of thinking about these specific barriers and how they might affect our users. We have some work to do on them before we have something to show.

Stay tuned for a post about the personas!

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  1. […] our user panel.  From the survey we’ve gleaned that participation intimidation, one of the barriers we’d earlier identified, is not a significant factor for the Cedar Rapids area.  We also eliminated the barrier […]

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