You can’t design a website for everyone The most successful websites target specific audiences More often than not serving a specific audience well is better than partially serving a larger audience. Personas help you define who you’re designing for. They encourage you to think about the types of users who are critical to your business so you don’t waste time on those that don’t matter so much.
The people building University websites typically know their business and how things work. So our instinct is to make decisions based on ourselves. But as I mentioned, your users are not usually like you. They don’t care about what you care about. Personas help you live in your users shoes. If they’re really working, they start to feel like real people. They help you imagine what they want and what they don’t want. You know they’re working when their names start to crop up in conversations – “But Marcia would never read that!”
The raw output of most user research encourages different people to come to different conclusions. One person grabs onto a particular set of data to back up a position, while another user other data to argue a point of view. Each team member could well have a different audience in mind… Which can lead to an inefficient process and a disjointed end product. Personas bring the team together to a shared vision of exactly who you’re designing for and what it is that they want. Early agreement on this avoids miscommunication, misunderstanding as you go on to make detailed decisions about content and features. This is the most important benefit – helping to establish appropriate expectations and goal setting throughout the University
Personas help you decide what you’re creating at the outset. Ensuring people make key decisions earlier in the process ensures you don’t waste time and money later. If you’ve ever been in the position of looking at a homepage layout with colleagues and the conversation has strayed to who you’re designing for and what the links should be will know what I mean. If you think about the cost of making changes late in the process, it’s easy to see how investing time and thought building consensus through personas early in the process can pay dividends later.
Any change in society typically follow this sort of pattern New values, beliefs and behaviours adopted by different people at different times Can group people by their values and attitudes - each group adopts new beliefs and behaviour for * different* reasons @ Pioneers are open to innovation and change - because they find it *interesting*@ Prospectors will take up innovations if it gives them *status* and *success*@ Settlers aren’t keen on change - they like the security of doing what’s *normal* - they’ll follow once more people, especially people like them are doing it @ [new section] We’re concerned with the mainstreaming of SRS in the University @ We’re already some way along the curve - but SRS is not yet business-as-usual @ In the SRS Stragegy we say we will @ “ Support best practice, innovation & leadership” @ This is about encouraging and enabling Pioneers @ “ Recognise & communicate SRS activity & achievement” @ This is about linking SRS to success in the eyes of Prospectors @ “ Demonstrate & report our impacts” @ This is about showing Prospectors how they’re part of the solution @ “ Embed SRS into policies etc” @ This is about making SRS normal - when it’s fully mainstream, people will be acting sustainably and responsibly without even realising it! @ Of course, like any segmentation this is simplistic - but it allows us to think about the types of people we need to engage with, understand what’s important to them, and plan how best to communicate with them. [new section] So what are these different groups likely to think about the University’s SRS agenda? @ Pioneers always want to go further, explore the issues more @ Prospectors are focussed on what things mean to them and how they are seen by others; not interested in the issues; want simple facts @ Settlers are concerned about their own security and belonging [new section] Neil will explain how we can use ‘personas’ to help develop the site. Using the information about these different groups we’ve created four personas: @ Herbie and Eva - two different types of Pioneer @ Marcia - a Prospector @ Jack - on the cusp of the Settler/Prospector groups Settlers are unlikely to be attracted to a sustainability web site - because it’s not yet ‘normal’. We’ll reach them in other ways - and as SRS becomes increasingly mainstream. So we’ve not prepared a pure Settler persona. @ More information on this approach available from these references.
1. Using personasSharing the goals of the Sustainable Edinburgh website Neil Allison University Website Programme www.usability-ed.blogspot.com @usabilityed
2. Overview1. A quick introduction to personas • The what, why and how…2. Meet the Sustainable Edinburgh website personas3. Group session • Getting to know the personas • Making them “real”
3. 5 steps to a user-focused website1. Recognise that business results depend on making your customers happy2. Realise that you are not the user3. Learn about your users by interacting with them4. Make the findings of your research understandable & actionable5. Make decisions based on this user knowledge The User Is Always Right
4. What is a persona?• A stand-in for real users – Representing the needs of user groups• Identifying the user motivations, expectations and goals that drive online behaviour• Based on knowledge of real users• Helping us keep the user at the forefront as website content & features develop
5. But what are thebenefits?
6. Personas bring focus The User Is Always Right
7. Personas build empathy The User Is Always Right
8. Personas encourage consensus The User Is Always Right
9. Personas bring efficiencies The User Is Always Right
10. How do we use personas?• Get to know their traits & behaviours – Challenge them: they should evolve & grow• Reference them in website development meetings• Discuss content and feature decisions using their attitudes and desires
11. How do we know we’re doing it properly?• When you find yourself saying: – “I doubt Herbie would ever want to do that”• And no one asks: – “Who’s Herbie?”• We’re probably getting there
12. Sustainability personas Meet your website visitors
13. The Process of Change 100% Embed SRS into policies, SRS part of strategies & procedures Evolving “the way weUoE ‘Business Recognise & communicate do things around As Usual’ SRS activity & achievement here” They should Creating “SRS is look after us where the kudos Responsibility & Sustainability before worrying is” about the rest of Mainstreaming of Social world Support best practice, Settlers innovation & leadership Like local & belonging; Unlocking resources; doing what’s normal getting out of the way; giving Demonstrate & report our main ‘permission’ soc., env., econ. impacts “Feel good: we’re part of the solution; we’re Great to see the managing it University doing effectively” this - but is it for real? Could be good for me - but why is it so Pioneers complicated? Attracted by what’s interesting, always questioningSRS personal Prospectors Developed by Osbert Lancaster, Footprint,& professional Want to make their lives based on: Research into motivating better & be seen to succeed prospectors, settlers and pioneers tointerest of few change behaviours that affect climate individuals emissions and Using values modes from Cultural Dynamics Strategy & Marketing www.cultdyn.co.uk 0% Time
14. Jack: Bit of a lad, proud dad • Technician in School of Engineering High autonomy in job Low autonomy x • Age 31 • Married with a son aged 3 Sees SRS highly Unclear about x relevant to work relevance to work • Lives in Musselburgh High personal Little personal • Keen footballer, stock car mechanic interest in SRS x interest Confident in own Uncertain about x knowledge of SRS SRSJack likes his job and is keen to take on more responsibility Jack wants (from Sustainable Edinburgh): - and he’d like the money. However he feels he should getmore recognition for the work he puts in - he keeps the show on theroad but the academics get the credit. He reckons he’s in with good chance of promotion if he playshis cards right.Doing a good job is important, but family & friends come first. University wants Jack to (in relation to SRS and other objectives): He enjoys being a family man and wants to be a great dad forhis son. He’s worried though that he’ll have less time for five-a-sidefootball and being a mechanic for a local stock car team. Jack and his wife’s dream is to move out the old council flatthey own into a brand new house with a garden for their kid.Jack thinks climate change is for real, but doesn’t believeanything he can do will make any real difference. Pain Points. Jack: It’s big business that’s the problem, and anyway it’ll be a while • Doesn’t like being blamed for the world’s problemsbefore his family and people locally experience any problems. • Accepts change is necessary, needs information, not persuasion He knows there’s some scientists at the University working on • Isn’t convinced that problems are here and nowclimate change - perhaps they’ll help fix it. He wants to get on withhis own life - not worry about other people. Sustainable Edinburgh should: His wife Tanya buys organic and fairtrade food when she can • Show Jack how he is helping solve problemsafford it: organic is healthier and fairtrade’s a nice way to help • Explain how changing his behaviour is effective and importantpeople. Jack’s suspicious that fairtrade doesn’t really help anyone • Demonstrate how Jack can leave a legacy for his sonand that organic food is a con - but if it keeps Tanya happy ...
15. Marcia: Ready to make her mark here … or elsewhere • Senior Lecturer in School of Law High autonomy in job x Low autonomy • Age 35 Sees SRS highly Unclear about x • Single no children relevant to work relevant to work • Lives in Leith, rented flat High personal Little personal x • Recently moved from Canada interest in SRS interest • Enjoys travel Confident in own Uncertain about x knowledge of SRS SRSMarcia specialised in corporate law for her first six months Marcia wants (from Sustainable Edinburgh): She’s already well liked and respected by staff and students.She feels she’s found her feet (this post is a step up for her) and isready to start making her mark - ‘things could do with shaking uparound here’. Marcia’s keen to progress up the academic ladder, and she’sopen minded about whether she’ll stay at Edinburgh long term. She likes the department and the City, but hasn’t had time to University wants Marcia to (in relation to SRS and other objectives):get to know people or Edinburgh - she feels cooped up and wants tomeet people and have some fun.Marcia is aware of climate change and CSR issues in general - and sees that they will increasingly affect some aspects ofcorporate law - one of her friends has researched First Nations’ legalchallenges to mining in Canada. Pain Points. Marcia: While she knows she’s ‘not supposed’ to fly she has family • Doesn’t like being blamed for the world’s problemsback home and all of Europe to explore - what’s she supposed todo!? • Doesn’t like hearing about the implications of her behaviours & choices She read about some wonderful ethical fashion ranges in themagazines - but they’re extortionate and the stuff in the shops is too • Doesn’t want to ‘give up’ any of the good things in life‘worthy’. Sustainable Edinburgh should: Marcia loves her MacBook Pro which she uses to Skype and • Make changes easy, contemporary and cost effective (but if it’sFacebook with friends and family - she didn’t like feeling guilty when worth it, she’s happy to pay)she read about the criticism of Apple for using ‘blood’ minerals from • Show how people she admires are leading the wayAfrica. • Show how SRS could help Marcia advance her career
16. Herbie: laid back hippie, but gets things done • Senior HR Manager in CMVM High autonomy in job x Low autonomy • Age 53 Sees SRS highly Unclear about x • Married, two children at university relevant to work relevance to work • Lives in Stockbridge High personal Little personal x interest in SRS interest • Keen musician Confident in own Uncertain about x knowledge of SRS SRSHerbie previously worked for an international IT company. Herbie wants (from Sustainable Edinburgh): He has been at Edinburgh for 7 years. He still takes pleasurein the idiosyncrasies of academia - even when it frustrates him as hetries to bring it into the modern world! He’s intrigued by how a such astrange system actually works pretty well. His colleagues see Herbie as quirky and unconventional - buthe’s recognised as a fair and supportive manager, and despiteseeming very laid back he knows everyone, knows the system andcan get things done. University wants Herbie to (in relation to SRS and other objectives): Herbie and his family have lived in the same house sincebefore the children arrived. He has a wide network of friends locallyand through work, plays a regular jazz session a Stockbridge pub,volunteers with a music therapy group and is on the board of a smallinternational development NGO. Pain Points. Herbie:Herbie is very aware of development and social justice issues • Recognises this stuff is complex - and gets frustrated when - and of the international implications of climate change for the presented with simplistic analysis, and simple solutionspoor. He’s ambivalent about climate change policy in the west -believing it dominated by corporate interests. • Concerned that this initiative will result in lots of noise and little effective action He feel a lot of ‘climate action’ is middle class hippies trying tolead the good life rather than bringing about real change. • Suspicious that this is really a cost cutting agenda He’s had a home energy check and has done what he cangiven it’s a traditional stone terraced house. He cycles and uses the Sustainable Edinburgh should:bus around town. • Provide evidence of effective change He’s happy to see the University do more on these issues, • Encourage Herbie to take action, and not just debate this issues!though he’s not sure how directly relevant it is to his work. He’s • Give Herbie opportunities to be part of taking this agenda forwardreserving judgment about the seriousness of their commitment.
17. Eva: is an enthusiast - almost an evangelista • 2nd year PhD student, Social High autonomy in job x Low autonomy Anthropology Sees SRS highly Unclear about x • Age 25 relevant to work relevance to work • Single High personal Little personal x • Lives in student flat in Tollcross interest in SRS interest Confident in own Uncertain about x knowledge of SRS SRSEva is researching aspects of bonded & forced labour in India. Eva wants (from Sustainable Edinburgh): She’s also a campaigner with an Edinburgh based fairtradeNGO and active in a several University societies. She travelled toIndia after graduating and volunteered for 6 months at a project forchild quarry workers. Eva is finding it difficult to focus on her PhD - although she’spassionate about improving peoples’ lives she’s finding the slog ofresearch tedious. University wants Eva to (in relation to SRS and other objectives): She’d rather be spending time with her friends putting theworld to rights - she’s concerned her research won’t really make anyimpact and result in just another thesis that no one except theexaminer will read.Eva is very aware of social justice and climate change issues. While she agrees climate change is important, she believesit’s distracting attention from improving the lives of oppressed peoplein the developing world. Pain Points. Eva: While she’s pleased that fairtrade and ethical products are • Get frustrated when people are encouraged to do the ‘right’ thing fornow widely available, she’s concerned that multinationals and the ‘wrong’ reasonsupermarkets have watered down standards. She’s also frustrated • Believes people need to understand the full picture - making it simplethat lots of people buy ethical stuff because it’s fashionable and makes it seem as if you’re not serious about the issuesaren’t really interested in the issues. She feels carbon offsetting is just another example of the west Sustainable Edinburgh should:trying to make the poor pay for our over indulgence, and that the • Provide a range of actions which Eva can evaluate and make up herpolitical agenda has been captured by the corporates. own mind on Eva is vegan. Her flatmates joke (just) about not being able to • Provide access to detailed information and evidencebuy anything without being told what’s wrong with it. • Encourage Eva to learn to communicate more effectively
18. Group session• 4 groups: 1 persona each• Comments, suggestions – Does your persona seem real? – Anything missing from the group as a whole?• Fill the gaps – practical, tangible objectives – What do you think your persona wants? – What does the University want your persona to do?
19. Next steps• Your comments & feedback integrated into the personas• Final working copies distributed• At all future steps of website planning & review, put yourself in their shoes – Remember: You are not the user! – The site is for Jack, Marcia, Herbie & Eva
20. Thank you• Any questions?• Further reading: – Persona articles & resources http://bit.ly/a35FNF – Cultural Dynamics Strategy & Marketing Using values modes: www.cultdyn.co.uk