Creating Personas – the representation of an audience

The planning group had its second meeting on this past Tuesday. This time we held the meeting at our web consulting agency Webupdate(website only in Swedish I’m afraid).
I think it’s good for the group to meet at new places and this way we all get to see each others offices. And it’s more fun!

What is Personas?

We focused heavily on creating suitable personas for the online community. So what is personas? You might not know and I don’t blame you.
Here’s a good, although somewhat lengthy, explanation from wikipedia:

Personas silhouette

“Personas or personae are fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are given characteristics and are assumed to be in particular environments based on known users‚Äô requirements so that these elements can be taken into consideration when creating scenarios for conceptualizing a site. Cooper (1999) outlined the general characteristics and uses of personas for product design and development.

In the context of software requirements gathering, a user persona is a representation of a real audience group. A persona description includes a user‚Äôs context, goals, pain points, and major questions that need answers. Personas are a common tool in Interaction Design.”

Common tool in Interaction Design indeed. Good thing then we’ve got an expert in the area – Daniel Ilic.

Daniel Ilic
Daniel Ilic about to start the Personas group exercise.
Basically we had a group exercise where we tried to imagine who the typical users would be, and how we could represent them in a couple of personas.

Our Personas

The result of this amazing almost five hour long meeting was five personas. Briefly described they represent:

  • DINKS – Double Income couples with No Kids
  • Active Family – Family with kids that enjoy active holidays
  • WHOPS – Wealthy Healthy Older People
  • Swedes, domestic
  • Swedes, expatriates – Swedes that live abroad

We’re working on refining these now and fleshing out their “personalities”.
I’ll likely try to get some feedback from all you readers later. It would be great to see that most of you fit into one of these personas and if not, modify them accordingly.

Next meeting will be about brainstorming all the amazing services for these personas.
I can’t wait! :)


10 Responses to “Creating Personas – the representation of an audience”

  1. 1 Martin Sjögren

    Hmm, I’ll give it a try to make my point in english… well, of course I fit in the persona Swede: domestic. A bit wide categorization hu? I believe the swedes who will visit this community are swedes who travel a lot and want to share their knowledge about their own country with other travellers. So, Travelling Swedes is on category. Then, if this turn out to be a big success, I guess many people from the swedish tourism-sector will see this as a good way to market themselves. Maybe not by spamming and other “under the belt”-ways of marketing but trying to inform the members of the community about the area they represent. So this could be another persona: Tourismworking Swedes.

    These are just suggestions…

  2. 2 Tommy Sollén

    Hi Martin! Thanks for your feedback.
    Yes, the personas are wide. They don’t represent a distilled representation of a target group segment. Instead they are a face of a type of likely user.
    But still, we will specify more details kring the domestic Swede persona and the others. One of it’s higher goals is, just as you say, to share knowledge about Sweden, perhaps their specific local region.

    The other possible persona you mention, the professional tourism working Swede, is a very real possibility.
    However, we’re leaning towards not including them in the community.
    It comes down to credibility.
    We want to keep the user base “clean” from external commercial interests. This might change before launch or be added afterwards if there’s a big demand for it.

  3. 3 zsoltson

    Hej Alla!

    Sweden, Norway and Scandinavia sound exotic, fascinating for an Eastern-European keen to explore the world. In the same time it sounds cold, grey and expensive too. (You know: polar bears in the city). It is the traditional picture which is still served by their own media in the same manner as the Scandinavian media likes to publish pictures of medieval villages, muddy roads and mule driven carriages from the former communist states. So the Eastern-European couple decides for a holiday in France or Spain ‚Äì an gets burned in the extreme heat – instead of an insecure adventure in the cold, unknown and strange North…

    Personal experience documented with pictures and stories on the respective language (Hungarian, Bulgarian, Romanian etc) can contribute to slowly change this prejudice. There are many Swedish citizens originated from these countries. Let them have a forum – or community – to discuss-depict the life in Scandinavia.

    Best regards


  4. 4 Ozon

    It’s its, not it’s :)

  5. 5 Tommy Sollén

    Regarding “The planning group had it‚Äôs second meeting…”?
    Thanks! :)

  6. 6 Tracy

    Personas are a great start. User research even better. You’d be amazed at how much detail (as well as unexpected problems & concerns) you can get from only 2-3 hour long interviews. I’d volunteer to be a potential user… but as another user-experience designer… I probably wouldn’t be the best candidate. (Doctors make the worst patients.)

  7. 7 Tommy Sollén

    Very true!
    I was recently at a seminar where a company showed a demo of a whole test package where they film the user trying to perform some tasks.
    You can then watch a movie of the desktop of the user as the user performs the task. The user’s face is also visible on the desktop. Long interviews are also added to this process.

    It seemed really useful but it’s also expensive. And it’s also mostly to test something that already exists.
    I’m still considering somehting along these lines though for our beta testing period.

  8. 8 Frank Ingvarson

    Best wishes for success in the development and maintenance of this online community. I consider your development of personas a good starting point given that the transition from virtual audience to real audience will be achieved from the proposed community participation.

    This community is of interest to me because I intend visiting Sweden in 2009 and would value the specific experiences of other visitors.

    Relative to your defined personas, I guess I’m close to a WHOP (go careful you could offend me with the “wealthy” and “old” bits – I don’t drive a Volvo and old, to me, is over 100).

    Being of Swedish descent (do you have classification for 3rd generation expatriates), I detest package tours – I want the freedom to arrive, integrate socially, get to know Swedes on their home turf and explore the beautiful country, and find out more about where my Grandfather came from – without intimidation or a less than enjoyable event due to my ignorance. Hence my interest in your initiative.
    Regards, Frank Ingvarson (Western Australia)

  9. 9 Emily M.

    Greetings from an English teacher! Nice writeup about ing Personas – the representation of an audience at VisitSweden Development Blog. I would have to agree with you on this one. I am going to look more into live abroad. This Saturday I have time.

  1. 1 Personas Revisited - Are You One of Them? at VisitSweden Development Blog

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