What are Personas and why should you care?

The Modularity working group is looking to flesh out a set of personas to help focus the work being done by the team. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might interact with a “product” in different ways. They are not market segments but should be thought of as user archetypes.

Personas can be useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of users to guide decisions about a product.  They should be based on user research and can include all types of information about that particular person.  Our personas include information related to behavior patterns, goals, skills, pain points, attitudes and daily activities.  If you want to learn more about personas and their use, I recommend your start here.

Benefits of personas

Some benefits a team can see with personas include:

  • Helping the team share a common understanding of their various users’ groups and audiences
  • Guiding proposed designs by how well they meet the needs of certain personas
  • Prioritizing features based on how well they address the needs of one or more personas
  • Providing a human “face” to the user that can help create empathy for the people represented

Examples of personas

The following have been identified as a first set of personas.

  • Student
  • Educator
  • Researcher
  • IT Executive
  • IT Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Enterprise System Admin
  • Enterprise System Architect
  • Enterprise Developer
  • Enterprise DevOps and Systems of Differentiation Developer
  • Enterprise DevOps Developer
  • Enterprise and Independent Software Vendor Developer – Systems of Innovation
  • Traditional Independent Software Vendor
  • Next Gen Independent Software Vendor
  • Business Operations
  • Product Manager

All of the personas listed above are available for review off of the Modularity working group wiki page.  They have not been validated with as much research as we would like.  The team would love to have feedback on these to fill the gaps and confirm the information that we have.  

Take a look and help create a set of personas that can be leveraged by the team.

Icons used: profile by Chameleon Design from the Noun Project, profile by Luciano Vizza from the Noun Project

Categories: Design, Development & Packaging

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  1. Just a thought – many (most?) of the sysadmins I know are one man shows: doing network management, PC support, DevOps, and probably making the coffee as well . Is that not a persona that could be looked at?

    • Yep, that’s me (including the coffee bit, sometimes). In theory, I’m a server administrator and a build engineer, but I get the other hats as well.

      Two bits of feedback:

      * There isn’t a persona for testers or QA staff.
      * The “Independent Software Vendor” types look out of step with the rest, because they don’t seem to describe individuals.

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