As noted in an earlier post, we developed personas to guide our development and to serve as users in our product mock-ups. When the design team creates a template for what the commenting structure might look like and how it might function, they use the Bristol, Willow and Track personas to post example comments.
The basic characteristics of our personas were hashed out a few weeks ago and we have been adjusting and building upon them ever since. They now have histories, families, hobbies, friends, media interests and, of course, facebook profiles. This enhanced familiarity with Bristol, facilitates the design team’s creation of comments she might make on a particular article (e.g. what she would say, how she would like to say it, and who she would want to say it to), which ultimately helps us create something geared to those needs.
These Web sites have good examples of what a bio/persona should look like:
Chopsticker Agile Modeling
p.s. We think Bristol-berrywould dress up as Sarah Palin for Halloween.
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Image source: bending light/flickr
In an earlier posting I wrote about creating and using personas to guide us through our development process by helping us keep potential users in the front of our minds. Personas give us something tangible to reference when we are brainstorming or making decisions, so we don’t get carried away with ideas that we might think are awesome, but might not be useful or relevant to our task.
We began by collecting data, through surveys and phone calls, to get information about who the users of our product are: age, marital status, jobs, children, hobbies, computer use, Internet use, interests, etc. We also asked them what they thought about communicating online and how often they used social networking sites.
We put all of this together and developed six personas, which we then narrowed down to three. We chose the personas that best represented potential users and were most distinct from one another.
|| Stay-at-home mom
||H.S. + some college
|Ties to C.R.
||Occasional at home
||Online at work & home
||Online at work, less at home
|Frequency of use
||Several times/ week
||Several times/ day
|User gen. cont.
||Uploading baby photos
Commenter, Opinionator, Youtube uploader
|Not an active contributer, Youtube watcher
Watches family friendly movies
Goes to Iowa City to catch a show
Coaches Little League, BBQs
This does not necessarily represent the final version of our personas. As with all other aspects of this project, we will adjust them as we learn more. The personas do not represent all of the potential users of our product, nor are they intended to. Neither are they based on any single person we spoke with or the member of the Palin family whose name we used.
They help us put all the information we gathered into a person we can measure ideas against (Would “Bristol” use this tool?).
Image source: Summer Luu/flickr
In our quest to learn more about the needs and interests of the people living in Cedar Rapids we developed an online survey. The advantage of using that method was that we could reach a larger pool of people in a short amount of time. The disadvantage was that we couldn’t really ask many opened-ended questions or follow-up on interesting answers. To address this, we called a subset of the people who took our online survey and asked them some of the following questions
• What sorts of things do you do for fun?
• What do you do on a weekday evening?
• What do you do on a typical weekend?
• What area do you live in and why did you choose to live there?
• What do you like about your area?
• What don’t you like about it?
• What would make eastern Iowa a better place to live?
• Where do you get your news?
• Do you feel that the news sources you use satisfy your needs?
• What issues are important to you?
• What web sites do you use frequently?
• Do you use any web sites to find information about Cedar Rapids or eastern Iowa?
• Do you discuss news on the Internet, over chat, commenting on stories, or in online forums?
It turned out to be quite useful and allowed us to get a better sense of what the people we spoke with were like. We may end up using this information to develop user personas, a collection of the interests and behaviors of a real group of potential users of our product. The personas will be created using data we collected from our interviews and surveys and will help give a human face to the people we are developing for. Follow this link for more on the origin of personas.