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Taking the “You” out of User
Persona creation, evaluation and use

TIBCO User Experience
January 2008

Copyright 2007 TIBCO Software. Proprietary and Confidential
Personas – what and why
What is a Persona?
A model of user goals, attitudes, and behaviors
and a key member of a product design and
development team
A good Persona is…
•  crafted from well-researched, well-understood data
about many real individuals
•  presented as a vivid, narrative description
•  consolidated into a single “person” to
represent a user segment
•  well-publicized
Personas should not be…
•  based on one person’s or even
several people’s opinions
•  built as an exercise and then
hidden away
•  confused with Users, Roles or
Skill Inventories
•  easy to create
•  a dramatic shift in the way to
design and build products
What will personas do for us?
•  Put a face on the end user
•  Provide an environment for better decision
making
•  Help us increase product value, usability and
sale-ability
•  Streamline design and development
•  Make us more confident in design and decisionmaking.
Why do we need personas?
Building products based on what (real)
people need seems obvious, but...
–  A user-centered approach isn’t natural
–  Designers, engineers and product managers
are not users
–  People are complicated
–  Communication is difficult
But, we build for the user already, don’t we?
•  User-centric design is a vague ideal with lots of
potential tools and processes
•  Personas are at the center of a specific PROCESS

Persona

User

Specific life story

Anything to
anyone

Published

Difficult to talk
about

Every attribute
linked to research

Based on an
opinion
Personas vs. Roles and Skills?
Persona

Role

Skill
Inventory

Describes
what a
person is

Describes
what a
person does

Describes
what a
person
knows
Who uses formal personas?
•  Automotive:
–  Chrysler (B2C)
–  Ford (B2C)
–  MINI Cooper (B2C)

•  Financial services:
– 
– 
– 
– 

Discover (B2C)
E*TRADE (B2C)
Fidelity (B2B, B2C)
Sovereign Bank (B2B,
B2C)

•  Manufacturing:
–  Dell (B2C, B2B)

•  Retail:
–  Amazon (B2C)
–  Best Buy (B2C)
–  Staples (B2B, B2C)

•  Shipping:

–  FedEx (B2B, B2C)
–  UPS (B2B, B2C)

•  Technology:
– 
– 
– 
– 

Analog Devices (B2B)
Microsoft (B2B, B2C)
Nortel (B2B)
SAP (B2B)
Persona development and use
Forrester’s Persona Lifecycle
I. 
II. 
III. 
IV. 
V. 

Family planning
Conception and gestation
Birth and maturation
Adulthood
Lifetime achievement,
reuse and retirement
6 Steps of Building 1/2
Conception
1.  Identify important categories of users
2.  Process the data
3.  Identify and create skeletons
6 Steps of Building 2/2
Gestation
1.  Prioritize (select) the skeletons
2.  Develop selected skeletons into personas
3.  Validate the personas against the data
How to tell a persona story
• 
• 
• 
• 
• 

Personal profile and job description
Resources and skills
A day in the life
The problem
A new day in the life
Sample persona
Sample
persona
The right number of personas

Source: Forrester research, September 10, 2004 “How To Design Sites That Satisfy Millions Of Users”
Persona evaluation
•  Based on primary research (interviews)
with real users
•  Sounds like a real person
•  Compelling narrative
•  Calls out key attributes and high-level goals
•  Enables design decisions
•  Usable
•  Has appropriate production values

Adapted from Forrester Research
Persona success is not guaranteed
Ingredients for failure include:
•  Lack of obvious need
•  Lack of leadership support
•  Not credible or based on real data
•  Poor communication
•  Ineffective use
Personas at TIBCO
How we intend to bring
Personas to TIBCO
•  Evangelize the evolution from our
current Role Descriptions
•  Conduct simple persona research on
one product
•  Share the process and the results with
all interested parties.
•  Commit to ongoing lifecycle
management with shared ownership
How we can get started
•  Assumption Personas
•  Existing role descriptions
•  Primary research
•  Affinity grouping
•  Skeleton personas and
validation
•  Launch, communication
and use
•  Evaluation
What do I have to worry about?
•  Nothing
•  When we’ve got something useful to share,
everyone will know
•  Doesn’t change anything about how we work
–  Gives each of us more information
–  Clarifies the definition and use of the tools we have
For the curious
•  The Inmates Are Running
the Asylum
–  [Cooper, 2004]

•  The Persona Lifecycle
–  [Pruitt and Adlin, 2006]

•  About Face 2.0
–  [Cooper and Reimann, 2003]

•  Information Architecture:
Blueprints for the Web
–  [Wodke, 2002]
Q&A
Taking the “You” out of User
Persona creation, evaluation and use

Copyright 2007 TIBCO Software. Proprietary and Confidential

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User experience personas

  • 1. Taking the “You” out of User Persona creation, evaluation and use TIBCO User Experience January 2008 Copyright 2007 TIBCO Software. Proprietary and Confidential
  • 3. What is a Persona? A model of user goals, attitudes, and behaviors and a key member of a product design and development team A good Persona is… •  crafted from well-researched, well-understood data about many real individuals •  presented as a vivid, narrative description •  consolidated into a single “person” to represent a user segment •  well-publicized
  • 4. Personas should not be… •  based on one person’s or even several people’s opinions •  built as an exercise and then hidden away •  confused with Users, Roles or Skill Inventories •  easy to create •  a dramatic shift in the way to design and build products
  • 5. What will personas do for us? •  Put a face on the end user •  Provide an environment for better decision making •  Help us increase product value, usability and sale-ability •  Streamline design and development •  Make us more confident in design and decisionmaking.
  • 6. Why do we need personas? Building products based on what (real) people need seems obvious, but... –  A user-centered approach isn’t natural –  Designers, engineers and product managers are not users –  People are complicated –  Communication is difficult
  • 7. But, we build for the user already, don’t we? •  User-centric design is a vague ideal with lots of potential tools and processes •  Personas are at the center of a specific PROCESS Persona User Specific life story Anything to anyone Published Difficult to talk about Every attribute linked to research Based on an opinion
  • 8. Personas vs. Roles and Skills? Persona Role Skill Inventory Describes what a person is Describes what a person does Describes what a person knows
  • 9. Who uses formal personas? •  Automotive: –  Chrysler (B2C) –  Ford (B2C) –  MINI Cooper (B2C) •  Financial services: –  –  –  –  Discover (B2C) E*TRADE (B2C) Fidelity (B2B, B2C) Sovereign Bank (B2B, B2C) •  Manufacturing: –  Dell (B2C, B2B) •  Retail: –  Amazon (B2C) –  Best Buy (B2C) –  Staples (B2B, B2C) •  Shipping: –  FedEx (B2B, B2C) –  UPS (B2B, B2C) •  Technology: –  –  –  –  Analog Devices (B2B) Microsoft (B2B, B2C) Nortel (B2B) SAP (B2B)
  • 11. Forrester’s Persona Lifecycle I.  II.  III.  IV.  V.  Family planning Conception and gestation Birth and maturation Adulthood Lifetime achievement, reuse and retirement
  • 12. 6 Steps of Building 1/2 Conception 1.  Identify important categories of users 2.  Process the data 3.  Identify and create skeletons
  • 13. 6 Steps of Building 2/2 Gestation 1.  Prioritize (select) the skeletons 2.  Develop selected skeletons into personas 3.  Validate the personas against the data
  • 14. How to tell a persona story •  •  •  •  •  Personal profile and job description Resources and skills A day in the life The problem A new day in the life
  • 17. The right number of personas Source: Forrester research, September 10, 2004 “How To Design Sites That Satisfy Millions Of Users”
  • 18. Persona evaluation •  Based on primary research (interviews) with real users •  Sounds like a real person •  Compelling narrative •  Calls out key attributes and high-level goals •  Enables design decisions •  Usable •  Has appropriate production values Adapted from Forrester Research
  • 19. Persona success is not guaranteed Ingredients for failure include: •  Lack of obvious need •  Lack of leadership support •  Not credible or based on real data •  Poor communication •  Ineffective use
  • 21. How we intend to bring Personas to TIBCO •  Evangelize the evolution from our current Role Descriptions •  Conduct simple persona research on one product •  Share the process and the results with all interested parties. •  Commit to ongoing lifecycle management with shared ownership
  • 22. How we can get started •  Assumption Personas •  Existing role descriptions •  Primary research •  Affinity grouping •  Skeleton personas and validation •  Launch, communication and use •  Evaluation
  • 23. What do I have to worry about? •  Nothing •  When we’ve got something useful to share, everyone will know •  Doesn’t change anything about how we work –  Gives each of us more information –  Clarifies the definition and use of the tools we have
  • 24. For the curious •  The Inmates Are Running the Asylum –  [Cooper, 2004] •  The Persona Lifecycle –  [Pruitt and Adlin, 2006] •  About Face 2.0 –  [Cooper and Reimann, 2003] •  Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web –  [Wodke, 2002]
  • 25. Q&A
  • 26. Taking the “You” out of User Persona creation, evaluation and use Copyright 2007 TIBCO Software. Proprietary and Confidential