Creating user persona’s with the whole team

I am currently working within a group at university on a project which is very user-generated – for this project I am leading the research and user experience. Recently, we have been conducting user research, including sending out an online survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9F3WC9Q) and asking relevant users a few questions (also known as user interviews).

With all this research I decided to gather the group together for a few hours today to look at all out findings and create a good idea of who our primary users are. The night before the meeting I was searching the internet and books for a guide on how to hold such an activity, but the information was very varied and different; therefore, the structure below is what I created; this was based in a room with everyone sat in a circle facing a whiteboard and projector screen which showed our recent results to the user survey.

  1. We began by thinking of all our possible user groups (e.g. film makers, scriptwriters, students, and so on).
  2. After coming up with 10 user groups we narrowed this down to 3 primary user groups (the main groups who we think will use our website).
  3. With each primary user group we thought about the main goals/reasons they would have for visiting our site and wrote about the demographics of this user (age, gender, marital status, education, income, technical experience, subject knowledge, how often they may visit our site and any other points we thought up).
  4. We then decided to divide into sub-groups, assign each sub-group with a different primary user and then write a persona for this user. I didn’t limit or set a structure to the persona’s, I gave everyone a basic example of a persona’s and said they could add as much as they want and be as creative as they want.
  5. Each sub-group read their persona to the whole group, after each persona was read, we all worked together to write down:
    a) what that user’s main goals and needs will be
    b) how our site will achieve these goals for that user
    c) what makes the user choose us from other competitor sites.

 

Above: Using a whiteboard to work together & write each user demographic before creating persona’s and coming up with ways to achieve the goals for each user group.

Throughout writing about the user, we referred back to our survey and interview user research. Having the whole team involved in conducting user research and creating persona’s allows everyone to get a good idea of our primary users and understand them.  I found that using a whiteboard, allowing people to shout out their opinions and delegating everyone into sub-groups, to write the persona’s, kept the group both interested and engaged.

Useful links
Survey Monkey: http://www.surveymonkey.com 
Slideshow with good examples of user research: www.slideshare.net/sylvain/
Customer research persona development: www.slideshare.net
Book: A Project Guide to UX Design by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler

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