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Personas that change the way you think
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Personas that change the way you think


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In user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.[1] Marketers may use …

In user-centered design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.[1] Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments. The term persona is used widely in online and technology applications as well as in advertising, where other terms such as pen portraits may also be used.

Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and users in order to help to guide decisions about a service, product or interaction space such as features, interactions, and visual design of a website. Personas may also be used as part of a user-centered design process for designing software and are also considered a part of interaction design (IxD), having been used in industrial design and more recently for online marketing purposes.

A user persona is a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users. In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews with users. They are captured in 1–2 page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment, with a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character. For each product, more than one persona is usually created, but one persona should always be the primary focus for the design.

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  • 1. Personas that change the way you think Gundega Lazdāne CBAP, Business analysis team lead at FMS, Latvia Armands Ķirītis, Msc. Comp, Product owner at FMS, Latvia
  • 2. Agenda • Who are persons • Who are Personas • How to create Personas • How to use Personas • A practical example by Armands Ķirītis
  • 3. Gundega Lazdāne, CBAP • Ing. Sc. Masters degree • 15 years in Business Analysis • BA team lead at FMS • President of Latvia IIBA® chapter
  • 4. Armands Ķirītis • Masters degree in Computer Science – Information Systems • 6+ years experience as a Business Analyst • Product owner at FMS
  • 5. • One of the largest software companies in Latvia complying ISO 9001:2009 • ERP system Horizon, System integration, BI • R&D laboratory
  • 6. Who are persons? • Linda Miller • 29 years old • Married, has no children • Loves to travel • Works as accountant • Bill Johnson • 58 years old • Married, has 2 children and 6 grandchildren • Loves to play poker • Works as accountant
  • 7. Who are persons? • Actor • Accountant
  • 8. Who are we developing to? • Some groups of people who have similar set of tasks
  • 9. Who do we understand better? Accountants in general Real people who have a job as accountant
  • 10. Who do we understand better? Accountants in general Real people who have a job as an accountant Why then do we make products for abstract user groups? Let’s make products for real persons
  • 11. Challenge: • All people aren’t similar – if we create a product based on requirements of a few users, others won’t like it Solution: • Personas – real people alike archetypes that are based on real-world data about user groups
  • 12. About Personas “The inmates are running the asylum”, 1998 Alan Cooper
  • 13. Who are Personas? • Personas look like real persons • Personas are not real persons • Personas are created based on motivation and behavior of real people • Personas are created using data collected from real people by observing and exploring
  • 14. Personas as well as persons have • Photo • Biography • Social situation • Dreams and personal aims … this creates empathy. Name Demographic information Motivation Aims Behavior
  • 15. Personas as well as persons have • Photo • Biography • Social situation • Dreams and personal aims … this creates empathy. Name Demographic information Motivation Aims Behavior Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings
  • 16. 4 steps creating Persona 1. Identify and fill atributes 2. Focus on goals not activities 3. Identify behavior patterns 4. Expand description
  • 17. Step 1: Identify and fill attributes Activities Attitude Aptitude Motivation Skills
  • 18. Step 2: Focus on goals not features
  • 19. Step 3: Identify behavior patterns
  • 20. Step 4: Expand description
  • 21. How to use Personas • To communicate requirements in a team • To specify product behavior • To evaluate interfaces • For marketing purposes
  • 22. The Horizon WEB 2.0 Persona based improvement
  • 23. • The most popular ERP system in Latvia – About 30% of the market, – About 80% of the public sector • Desktop application • 1500 clients (public and private sector) • More than 20 years of development
  • 24. Horizon WEB • WEB counterpart of the Horizon system • Self-service for employees • Some specific usages for operators covered
  • 25. History of Horizon WEB • Was developed to make some functions more accessible via WEB interface • The functionality is expanded over time
  • 26. The problem • 20+ years of experience with ERP that is meant for advanced users • Implementing the WEB product in similar style and interface as desktop Horizon • Users aren’t always happy with the UI/UX of the system as it is more document oriented than user oriented
  • 27. The job to do • Find a method that allows us to transform the system from document-focused to user- focused • Utilize that method • Improve the UX by remaking the product
  • 28. The preparation • Goals • Planning • Generating ideas • Kick-off • Tasks • Methods
  • 29. The Personas – why? • Several authors recommend this method as very user-centric, for example, Scott Klemmer, Marty Cagan • Good feedback from practitioners
  • 30. Our approach • We have a lot of information about our users: – Regular seminars and meetings – Client requests online – Other ways to get feedback • This information: the basis for creating Personas • Additional interviews for extra info and observation
  • 31. Creating a list of behavioral variables Activities • Office based or mobile • Percentage of activities in product domain • Few or many parallel tasks Attitudes • Attitude towards information systems • Attitude towards electronic devices Aptitudes • Education level • Additional courses taken Motivations • Salary level • Enthusiastic about work • Workload Skills • Computer user skills • Communication skills
  • 32. The job roles • Choosing the relevant job roles that we build Horizon WEB for (and the ones we don’t build for) CEO Nurse HR manager Clerk
  • 33. Continuing the work • Process information about the subjects – chosen from various job roles • Investigating the variable values for those roles • Creating behavioral patterns for the roles
  • 34. Synthesizing characteristics and goals • Creating a table containing our behavioral patterns and bullet points of the characteristics and goals
  • 35. Checking for redundancy and completeness • As the roles were planned in order to be distinct, we didn’t find any redundancy • By additional interviews found some roles missing • Added the information about the missing roles and their behavioral patterns
  • 36. Expanding description of attributes • Adding a description about the person, a narrative • Still containing the bullet points for completeness – a combination of both narration and structure • A photo found in the Internet that describes the person
  • 37. Assigning the persona types • Positive personas: primary, secondary, supplemental • Negative personas
  • 38. The problem of scope • We determined 2 primary personas • Split the scope in two separate functional areas Horizon WEB Self service system Operator’s station
  • 39. Reassigning the persona types • Splitting the persona types to both self- service and operator’s station • Several personas are excluded from the scope of operator’s stations as they do not use this functionality • Some personas are added as negative persons for the self-service area as they do not fit the user we’re building the self- service system for
  • 40. Expanded: John the seller • One of the described Personas: John the seller
  • 41. The requirements • Writing context scenarios for the primary and some of the secondary personas • Their typical workday involving the usage of Horizon WEB • Defining the requirements for improvements
  • 42. The implementation • The Horizon WEB 2.0 – New focus – the user – New technology (WEB forms --> MVC) • The system is modular: implementing the changes in one module at a time
  • 43. The benefits • We had a set of characteristics for the people we build the product for • Terminology change: we develop for the personas who have names (empathy) • The priorities of requirements are defined by the persona they’re derived from
  • 44. The benefits • User testing: we can do user testing from the viewpoint of a persona without involving real users at first • Personas can also be used for creating marketing material
  • 45. Our results • The first round changes in first specific module: Document Circulation are already implemented and delivered to our clients • We did: – User testing – Surveys – Analysis of usage logs
  • 46. Before… Circulation of a vacation request
  • 47. After the remake
  • 48. Further perspective • Remaking other modules in the same way • The personas are reusable for future projects thus making them a good tool for long term product development
  • 49. Pros and challenges • Better understanding of end users • The personas can be used as a communication tool in the team • The method brings results • More analysis has to be done at first • The thinking and development principles have to be changed
  • 50. Reading & learning suggestions • Alan Cooper: About Face 3, • Tamara Adlin, John Pruitt: The Essential Persona Lifecycle • Chris Nodder, course “UX Design Techniques: Creating Personas” • Scott Klemmer: Human-Computer Interaction, course in Coursera, started on 30.06.2014.,
  • 51. Thank you for your attention