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Personas in Documentation Presented at 11 th  Annual Conference of STC India, Bangalore, 2009 Arun Martin, Technical Write...
Agenda <ul><li>What Are Personas </li></ul><ul><li>Where Personas Fit in Doc Development </li></ul><ul><li>Common Document...
What Are Personas <ul><li>- Summaries of user-research findings  </li></ul><ul><li>- Help everyone make decisions based on...
Where Personas Fit in Doc Development Requirements  Analysis Writing Production Doc Plan Reviews Archiving Persona Develop...
Common Documentation Scenarios <ul><li>Unforeseen updates in response to external or internal factors </li></ul><ul><li>Fe...
How to Get Started? <ul><li>Begin with internal research </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to internal users & summarize the response...
Common Research Methods <ul><li>Qualitative  ( Insights )   </li></ul><ul><li>User Interviews   Usability Testing   </li><...
User Research <ul><li>Quantitative research – Tells you what is happening </li></ul><ul><li>Testing or proving something w...
Common approach to creating Personas  <ul><li>Conduct qualitative approach </li></ul><ul><li>User interviews are the most ...
Common approach to creating Personas (Contd) <ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>- Relatively low effort is required </li></ul>...
When to use this common approach <ul><li>You can’t invest much time and money in personas. </li></ul><ul><li>Your stakehol...
Recommended Reading <ul><li>Using Personas to Create User Documentation -  http://www.cooper.com/journal/2004/12/using_per...
References <ul><li>The User Is Always Right </li></ul><ul><li>A Practical Guide to Creating & Using Personas for the Web <...
<ul><li>Q & A </li></ul><ul><li>Thank You </li></ul>
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Personas In Documentation

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Personas In Documentation

  1. 1. Personas in Documentation Presented at 11 th Annual Conference of STC India, Bangalore, 2009 Arun Martin, Technical Writer Niranjan Jahagirdar, Technical Editor
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What Are Personas </li></ul><ul><li>Where Personas Fit in Doc Development </li></ul><ul><li>Common Documentation Scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>How to Get Started </li></ul><ul><li>Common Research Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Common Approach to Creating Personas </li></ul><ul><li>Recommended Reading </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Are Personas <ul><li>- Summaries of user-research findings </li></ul><ul><li>- Help everyone make decisions based on research </li></ul><ul><li>- Defined by their goals, behaviors, and attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>- Created to discover how best to serve different types of users </li></ul>The persona: Jeff is a technical communicator with 20 years of experience. In addition to being a busy editor, he spends many hours daily on e-mail, mentoring colleagues and answering questions—questions about the intricacies of using software to produce documentation, about the nature of documentation, and about life at work. Jeff is connected continuously to the Web via a high-speed connection, and spends hours researching answers to writing questions. Oddly enough, he actually reads computer manuals and online help for fun, and many &quot;how to&quot; books and books on communication theory fill the groaning bookshelves in his office. The documentation considerations : To meet Jeff's needs, deliver documentation in the form of leading questions that arrive via e-mail. This caters to Jeff's mentoring nature by encouraging him to explore in order to answer these questions. Additional documentation should be provided in the form of sponsored Google advertising; this way, whenever Jeff uses his Web browser to research a topic, he immediately sees links to the relevant section of the developer's Web site. Because these links are dynamically generated using Google's patented AdWords technology, they provide an efficient path into the documentation. Moreover, maintaining the documentation on the Web site ensures that the most recent documentation is instantly available, is truly minimalistic, and promotes learning by exploration.
  4. 4. Where Personas Fit in Doc Development Requirements Analysis Writing Production Doc Plan Reviews Archiving Persona Development Brings Focus Builds Empathy Encourages Consensus Leads to Efficient Documentation Equips for Better Decision-Making
  5. 5. Common Documentation Scenarios <ul><li>Unforeseen updates in response to external or internal factors </li></ul><ul><li>Few steps of doc lifecycle followed </li></ul><ul><li>Updates to docs of an existing release </li></ul><ul><li>Updates to docs for branched release </li></ul><ul><li>Some steps of doc lifecycle followed </li></ul><ul><li>Docs written for new software releases </li></ul><ul><li>All steps of doc lifecycle followed </li></ul>Complete Manual Regular Updates Critical Updates
  6. 6. How to Get Started? <ul><li>Begin with internal research </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to internal users & summarize the responses from users </li></ul><ul><li>List the attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Cluster the attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Create people around the clusters </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize personas </li></ul><ul><li>Tell stories (Create scenarios) </li></ul><ul><li>Create persona documents </li></ul><ul><li>To validate the findings perform user research methods, </li></ul><ul><li>usability studies, user surveys, and site traffic log file analysis. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Common Research Methods <ul><li>Qualitative ( Insights ) </li></ul><ul><li>User Interviews Usability Testing </li></ul><ul><li>Goals & Attitudes Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>( What people say ) ( What people do ) </li></ul><ul><li>User Surveys Site traffic/log file analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative ( Validation ) </li></ul><ul><li>The above diagram is from page # 39 of The User is always Right book. </li></ul>
  8. 8. User Research <ul><li>Quantitative research – Tells you what is happening </li></ul><ul><li>Testing or proving something with a large sample size Surveys and site traffic analysis are good examples </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative research – Tells you why it is happening </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering new things with a small sample size For example, user interviews and usability testing Is open-ended Does not prove anything </li></ul>
  9. 9. Common approach to creating Personas <ul><li>Conduct qualitative approach </li></ul><ul><li>User interviews are the most common form. Some companies conduct field studies, and can thus observe behavior while asking about goals and attitudes. In addition, you can use usability testing to observe behavior (though this is less common) </li></ul><ul><li>Segment users based on the qualitative research </li></ul><ul><li>For personas, the goal is to find patterns that enable you to group similar people together into types of users. This segmentation is typically based on their goals, attitudes, and behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Create a persona for each segment </li></ul><ul><li>Each type of user evolves into a persona as you add more detail to their goals, behaviors, and attitudes </li></ul>
  10. 10. Common approach to creating Personas (Contd) <ul><li>Pros </li></ul><ul><li>- Relatively low effort is required </li></ul><ul><li>- Simpler persona stories increase understanding and buy-in </li></ul><ul><li>- Fewer specialized skill sets are compared to the other approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul><ul><li>- There is no quantitative evidence. </li></ul>
  11. 11. When to use this common approach <ul><li>You can’t invest much time and money in personas. </li></ul><ul><li>Your stakeholders don’t need to see quantitative data to believe and use your personas. </li></ul><ul><li>You want to try personas on a smaller project and see how they work before applying them to the larger business. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Recommended Reading <ul><li>Using Personas to Create User Documentation - http://www.cooper.com/journal/2004/12/using_personas_to_create_user.html . </li></ul><ul><li>New Technical Writer: Use the Persona to Create the Most Useful Section of Your User Document - http://www.articlealley.com/article_136859_50.html </li></ul>
  13. 13. References <ul><li>The User Is Always Right </li></ul><ul><li>A Practical Guide to Creating & Using Personas for the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Mulder with Ziv Yaar </li></ul><ul><li>Observing the User Experience : A Practitioner's Guide for User Research </li></ul><ul><li>Mike Kuniavsky </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Q & A </li></ul><ul><li>Thank You </li></ul>

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