the big persona

24 Jan 2005 - 9:43am
9 years ago
10 replies
566 reads
Greg Petroff
2004

Ok,

Anyone have an idea on how to adress the creation of a
persona for a single special user?

I have an internal project where there is an amazing
and well known senior manager who needs to be part of
the persona process except that its too transparent.
You can read the persona and you know its her. There
is realy no hybrid I can build.

And she is a valid user of the system we are building
and also the one paying for the project. My questions
are,

Could I just describer her as her with her name as is,
as a differnt category then the personas that were
created through observing and interviewing multiple
users?

Do I change some details to protect the innocent?

Do I create the persona and everyone starts using her
real name anyway?

Anyone have any suggestions? She is unique in her
goals and needs so I can not blend her into others
easily.

greg

=====
Gregory Petroff

gpetroff at vizrt.com
+1 212 560 0708 tel
+1 212 560 0709 fax
+1 646 387 2841 mobile

Comments

24 Jan 2005 - 9:59am
James Melzer
2004

Stakeholder personas are one way to represent the business or
political goals of the project, expecially if these folks don't
actually interact with the product directly. If the person in question
is both a user and a stakeholder, it's a little different. I would try
to separate the stakeholder's general experience desires from the
actual task requirements. This is a good idea for all personas. I
would also abstract it out and change her name for the persona. She
could leave the position tomorrow and be replaced by another exec with
(hopefully) similar goals and tasks. Explaining it in those terms may
help her and the design team think beyond personal whims to the actual
business needs.

~ James

On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 07:43:59 -0800 (PST), Gregory Petroff
<g_petroff at yahoo.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Ok,
>
> Anyone have an idea on how to adress the creation of a
> persona for a single special user?
>
> I have an internal project where there is an amazing
> and well known senior manager who needs to be part of
> the persona process except that its too transparent.
> You can read the persona and you know its her. There
> is realy no hybrid I can build.
>
> And she is a valid user of the system we are building
> and also the one paying for the project. My questions
> are,
>
> Could I just describer her as her with her name as is,
> as a differnt category then the personas that were
> created through observing and interviewing multiple
> users?
>
> Do I change some details to protect the innocent?
>
> Do I create the persona and everyone starts using her
> real name anyway?
>
> Anyone have any suggestions? She is unique in her
> goals and needs so I can not blend her into others
> easily.
>
> greg
>
> =====
> Gregory Petroff
>
> gpetroff at vizrt.com
> +1 212 560 0708 tel
> +1 212 560 0709 fax
> +1 646 387 2841 mobile
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at ixdg.org
> --
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> --
> Questions: lists at ixdg.org
> --
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> http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> --
> http://ixdg.org/
>

24 Jan 2005 - 10:07am
Greg Petroff
2004

Thanks,

She is both stakeholder and user and unlike most
senior managers I know she is the super user when she
wants to be.

What I might do is seperate her into 2 personas;

exec superuser and
exec stakeholder

That actually might help to change it. Had not
thought of that. Thanks.

greg

--- James Melzer <jamesmelzer at gmail.com> wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only
> relevant quoted material.]
>
> Stakeholder personas are one way to represent the
> business or
> political goals of the project, expecially if these
> folks don't
> actually interact with the product directly. If the
> person in question
> is both a user and a stakeholder, it's a little
> different. I would try
> to separate the stakeholder's general experience
> desires from the
> actual task requirements. This is a good idea for
> all personas. I
> would also abstract it out and change her name for
> the persona. She
> could leave the position tomorrow and be replaced by
> another exec with
> (hopefully) similar goals and tasks. Explaining it
> in those terms may
> help her and the design team think beyond personal
> whims to the actual
> business needs.
>
> ~ James
>
>
> On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 07:43:59 -0800 (PST), Gregory
> Petroff
> <g_petroff at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only
> relevant quoted material.]
> >
> > Ok,
> >
> > Anyone have an idea on how to adress the creation
> of a
> > persona for a single special user?
> >
> > I have an internal project where there is an
> amazing
> > and well known senior manager who needs to be part
> of
> > the persona process except that its too
> transparent.
> > You can read the persona and you know its her.
> There
> > is realy no hybrid I can build.
> >
> > And she is a valid user of the system we are
> building
> > and also the one paying for the project. My
> questions
> > are,
> >
> > Could I just describer her as her with her name as
> is,
> > as a differnt category then the personas that were
> > created through observing and interviewing
> multiple
> > users?
> >
> > Do I change some details to protect the innocent?
> >
> > Do I create the persona and everyone starts using
> her
> > real name anyway?
> >
> > Anyone have any suggestions? She is unique in her
> > goals and needs so I can not blend her into others
> > easily.
> >
> > greg
> >
> > =====
> > Gregory Petroff
> >
> > gpetroff at vizrt.com
> > +1 212 560 0708 tel
> > +1 212 560 0709 fax
> > +1 646 387 2841 mobile
> > _______________________________________________
> > Interaction Design Discussion List
> > discuss at ixdg.org
> > --
> > to change your options (unsubscribe or set
> digest): http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> > --
> > Questions: lists at ixdg.org
> > --
> > Announcement Online List (discussion list members
> get announcements already)
> > http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> > --
> > http://ixdg.org/
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at ixdg.org
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> http://discuss.ixdg.org/
> --
> Questions: lists at ixdg.org
> --
> Announcement Online List (discussion list members
> get announcements already)
> http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
> --
> http://ixdg.org/
>

=====
Gregory Petroff

gpetroff at vizrt.com
+1 212 560 0708 tel
+1 212 560 0709 fax
+1 646 387 2841 mobile

24 Jan 2005 - 10:27am
Josh Seiden
2003

Much as I love personas, there are times when there is
no point in using them.

Some questions I would ask:
- Is this super-user the only person who will use the
software UI that you are designing?

One of the reasons you use personas is that you want
to avoid getting stuck in one quirky individual's way
of working. However, if you only intend to support one
quirky individual, then you should be focusing on that
user, not an abstraction.

- When this person leaves, will you retire the UI?
If this software will have a life, consider planning
it around the super-user's successor. Create a persona
for that person.

- Why do you want to user a persona here? Is it for
the design process, or the communication process. The
external communication value will be reduced here if
it is too close to a real person--but maybe you don't
need to use it for that purpose.

- Is she really unique in her goals? Try abstracting
her goals without a persona first, and see if they fit
with the rest of your personas.

JS

> > > Anyone have an idea on how to adress the
> > > creation of a
> > > persona for a single special user?

24 Jan 2005 - 10:31am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

GP> Could I just describer her as her with her name as is,
GP> as a differnt category then the personas that were
GP> created through observing and interviewing multiple
GP> users?

You will do much better not using real names and personal
characteristics. If the user is well known to the project
team, there is a danger of ending up designing for the *person*,
not the *user type*. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Are sex and age critical to the job?
- Does a specific working style mater? (leadership style, skills and
willingness to delegate responsibilities, temperament, etc.)
- Do off-work engagements influence the work? (family, member of
boards, must attaint certain business/social engagements, etc.)

These are generic examples, but here is what you can do. Before
writing a coherent persona profile, create a bulleted list of all
user characteristics you are planning to include in your description.
Go down the list and try change them one by one (female -- male,
comes into the office early -- stays late, single -- has four sons
under 6, and so on). See what's essential to the job (and, therefore,
fixed) and what is descriptional (and can be changed). Change
whatever is changeable. See if you still recognise the person
(not the position).

It's a good exercise indeed; getting trapped into attributes of a
specific person is easy and dangerous.

Lada

24 Jan 2005 - 10:41am
Narey, Kevin
2004

Lada wrote:

>It's a good exercise indeed; getting trapped into attributes of a specific
person is easy and dangerous.

Why dangerous?
I was always under the impression that the real value in a persona was the
contextual information gathered that pertained to the attributes, enabling
the designer to best tailor the solution with cultural, social and
contextual information.

If you gather that information and engineer it to be the antithesis, are you
not looking at a bare-bones end-to-end process that could be achieved
without using persona method?

Kevin
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24 Jan 2005 - 11:15am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

NK> Why dangerous?
NK> I was always under the impression that the real value in a persona was the
NK> contextual information gathered that pertained to the attributes, enabling
NK> the designer to best tailor the solution with cultural, social and
NK> contextual information.

Yes, but in the context where one can clearly distinguish attributes
that define users of this persona as a class and those that are just
icing on the cake. In the context when there is only one subject to
study, one has to single out goals from personal attributes, as Josh
Seiden noted.

NK> If you gather that information and engineer it to be the antithesis, are you
NK> not looking at a bare-bones end-to-end process that could be achieved
NK> without using persona method?

Ah, but we use personas to communicate user requirements in a
more friendly language. Essentially, this is spicing up otherwise
dry formal definitions. In Greg's case, exercising some degree of
abstraction helps more than copying exact personal characteristics.
I assume, the interface IS for the job, not the person, since there
are other users of it. Therefore is should be *representative* of
the users of this type, even there is only one at any singe point.
All those contextual, cultural, and social characteristics that are
important to the type, stay in place.

I may be slightly paranoid, but designing for a general use system
with one real person in mind (and no others in the same category to
compare to) can blind. If you meet one IxD folk with a Powerbook, do
you assume that owning a Mac is an attribute that defines IxD people
as a class?

Lada

24 Jan 2005 - 11:39am
Robert Reimann
2003

Personas, properly executed, capture usage patterns that apply
to a class of users. Personas run the risk of leading
design astray if they capture personal idiosyncracies of
behavior rather than patterns of behavior observed in a
multitude of individuals. Thus, a persona designed around a
single individual is a risky proposition.

James' and Lada's advice is sound, and it would be best to
find other exec users (or potential users) to round out
your observations, if that's at all possible.

Robert.
---

Robert Reimann
Manager, User Interface Design

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Narey, Kevin
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2005 11:42 AM
To: 'Lada Gorlenko'; discuss at ixdg.org
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] the big persona

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Lada wrote:

>It's a good exercise indeed; getting trapped into attributes of a
>specific
person is easy and dangerous.

Why dangerous?
I was always under the impression that the real value in a persona was the
contextual information gathered that pertained to the attributes, enabling
the designer to best tailor the solution with cultural, social and
contextual information.

If you gather that information and engineer it to be the antithesis, are you
not looking at a bare-bones end-to-end process that could be achieved
without using persona method?

Kevin
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Registered in England no. 1371338

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and it may be privileged.

It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is
addressed.

If you have received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the
material immediately.
**********************************************************************

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24 Jan 2005 - 11:45am
Greg Petroff
2004

Part of my challenge right now has been getting the
customer to buy into the idea of personas versus use
cases and getting push back from some that theres no
way to abstract the "big persona". So I have a couple
of take aways that are most helpful.

1. I can seperate the big persona into 2, one is
stakeholder and the other is a unique user.

2. I can imagine a successor for big persona and
develop arround that as long as her end goals get
incorporated into the description. Change as many
attributes as possible that are not directly bearing
on the end goals.

3. I can assess big persona's "user" goals and if they
are captured in other personas adequetly not worry
about creating one for her.

And finally I can adress internal pressures to make
sure the "big persona" is being heard by replying that
her user goals are incorporated within the family of
personas developed.

greg

=====
Gregory Petroff

gpetroff at vizrt.com
+1 212 560 0708 tel
+1 212 560 0709 fax
+1 646 387 2841 mobile

24 Jan 2005 - 11:54am
Dave Malouf
2005

> 2. I can imagine a successor for big persona and
> develop arround that as long as her end goals get
> incorporated into the description. Change as many
> attributes as possible that are not directly bearing
> on the end goals.

I think this is the most important issue. There are many systems were at any
given time there is only one possible person who can be of that specific
user type, and that user type is primary to the functioning of the system as
a whole.

What is important and I think you got it here is that the human being is not
what we are trying to describe so much as the motivations and contexts of
anyone who would be playing this role. The idea of "successor" is very
specific in this case, but I think accurate in that no one lives forever.
Sad but true.

-- dave

26 Jan 2005 - 7:54am
Stewart Dean
2004

Hi Gregory,

I know there's been lots of replies on this but I'd thought I'd add my
unusual view on the subject.

If a persona results in a person then I don't feel they are that valid. The
persona, in my view, gives you a set of task and the things that affect that
task. I also try and think in terms of ranges rather than one person with
one ability.

In other words I would never view a user as novice as it depends what
they're doing, something Microsoft get wrong.

So user roles (not personas) give me an idea what that person wants, talking
to them tells me what other things affect how they do that and gives me a
range of abilities. These then can translate to tasks and sets up what kind
of support is needed around carrying out the task.

This is not a formalised system but I feel roles are a more realistic
representation of what the user needs than personas. I'm interested in
others view on this as it may cross over with existing practices.

Stewart Dean
User Experience Bloke.

>From: Gregory Petroff <g_petroff at yahoo.com>
>Reply-To: g_petroff at yahoo.com
>To: discuss at ixdg.org
>Subject: [ID Discuss] the big persona
>Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 07:43:59 -0800 (PST)
>
>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>Ok,
>
>Anyone have an idea on how to adress the creation of a
>persona for a single special user?
>
>I have an internal project where there is an amazing
>and well known senior manager who needs to be part of
>the persona process except that its too transparent.
>You can read the persona and you know its her. There
>is realy no hybrid I can build.
>
>And she is a valid user of the system we are building
>and also the one paying for the project. My questions
>are,
>
>Could I just describer her as her with her name as is,
>as a differnt category then the personas that were
>created through observing and interviewing multiple
>users?
>
>Do I change some details to protect the innocent?
>
>Do I create the persona and everyone starts using her
>real name anyway?
>
>Anyone have any suggestions? She is unique in her
>goals and needs so I can not blend her into others
>easily.
>
>greg
>
>=====
>Gregory Petroff
>
>gpetroff at vizrt.com
>+1 212 560 0708 tel
>+1 212 560 0709 fax
>+1 646 387 2841 mobile
>_______________________________________________
>Interaction Design Discussion List
>discuss at ixdg.org
>--
>to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
>http://discuss.ixdg.org/
>--
>Questions: lists at ixdg.org
>--
>Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements
>already)
>http://subscribe-announce.ixdg.org/
>--
>http://ixdg.org/

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