A few days ago, I hosted a web seminar about personas for the folks at Thomson Scientific. Interest has grown there after a successful introduction to personas, which I’m told were a useful resource during their redesign of the ISI Web of Knowledge. This got me thinking: I’ve already posted some information about personas here and intend to write more in the future. So to provide an anchor for these thoughts, here is a summary of my…
10 steps to personas (in three parts)
Begin by setting your objectives and gathering data:
- Define the problem that you want personas to help solve. For example, “These personas will help us understand people’s behaviors around exchanging electronic documents, to help us design a website for that activity.” It may be tempting, but try to avoid general statements such as “help us understand our customers better.” What specifically do you want to learn?
- Identify the people you need to study in order to understand the problem you defined. Best practices in persona development require you to spend time face-to-face with current or potential customers. To plan for this, you need some model of the market to help identify the people you’ll want to recruit. Customer segmentation models from marketing can be a useful input for this step.
- Get into the field and meet the people you identified. Interview them, ask for demonstrations, and observe the environment in which they would use your product or service. Augment this with information from other sources such as subject matter experts, articles, blogs, and market research studies. Be sure to do some research beforehand to get a basic understanding of the domain, as you’ll learn more in the field if you’re already up to speed on some basics.