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I've been tasked with creating a way to map personas onto our product suite. While I've worked with personas before, I haven't had to bind them to products (usually it's binding a product to a persona). I'm thinking about simply making diagrams that has a picture of the product, the name of the product, some details about what the product is used for/its features, and then a list of personas that would use that product.

However, I feel that there could be a better way of doing this that I'm just not seeing. Also, I was throwing around the idea of making a flow chart that could display how a user would go about using our products. I've looked at this question in hope of an answer, however I didn't find an answer that could help me. Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated

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    Please provide a screenshot or mockup of how you would go about this. You might receive feedback then. This website isn't about letting the community do your web design for you – msp Sep 22 '14 at 18:36
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    This task you have been assigned sounds strange out of the context of your development process. Can you explain a bit more where it fit's in the organisations development life-cycle? – Jason A. Sep 22 '14 at 19:04
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    Why do you/your company need personas at the product suite level? The only thing that comes in mind if you see the same user group accessing multiple products together in their workflow... e.g. I create a graph in MS Excel and I drop it into a Word doc. Please clarify what you hope to achieve with these personas. It's way too vague right now. – nightning Sep 22 '14 at 19:14
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    This idea defies the whole purpose of using personas. A persona is useful to focus on the aspects that really matter to different users. The moment you let functionality determine your personas, you'll find that every functionality is useful. You'll end up with personas that perfectly support your product, but don't match the real world in any way. Sure, the board of directors will love your presentation and the way it makes sense. But what's the use if it turns out it's all based on false assumptions? – Ruudt Sep 23 '14 at 8:54
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I couldn't tell from your question whether you already have a good product:persona written down. If not, that's the first thing you want to do, before even thinking about how to visually represent it.

I usually think about personas using the methodology laid out in this answer– basically, what problems do your users have, and how does your product solve those problems differently for each user type? Goals/needs/problems are the main piece, but you also want to think about thinking style, technical ability, etc. T

Once that's sorted out, I'd start by just adding the applicable persona(s) as a spreadsheet column, piece of wiki metadata, or something else you can pivot on or look up later.

How you actually visualize or share those mappings will vary based on your audience.

If the goal is to simply visually represent the persona / product relationship, I'd attack it from two ends:

  1. On your Persona profile page, show or list the products they use, and
  2. On the internal page for your product, show or list the personas that use it.

At the end of the day, this (or any persona-based exercise) is useless if nobody actually uses it, and ensuring that internal stakeholders see the relationship on both the product and the persona will help with that.

The below mockup is not a suggestion about how you should lay out or structure your persona page, but an example of how to show a product relationship on a persona. You could visually show product logos (1) somewhere on the page, and I'd also also recommend (2) making sure there's a clear mapping between the persona, the problems they're trying to solve, and which product solves them. A nice bonus is how frequently they use that product, and how well it solves their problems.

Example persona page

On the product side of things, I'll assume you have some kind of wiki page or internal representation of the product. There, I'd go through a similar process, making sure the faces of the relevant personas are visible somewhere (and linked to the personas as well). Additionally, if you have your product mapped to specific user stories or use cases, you can indicate the relevant persona with each use case. For example:

  • "Lucy uses the email-o-matic daily to organize her hectic email inbox, because she gets hundreds of messages a day and can't organize them manually."
  • "Fred uses the email-o-matic weekly, because he often forgets about important emails and the tool helps remind him about them."

I'd obviously adjust this to however your organization lists the use case / user story / jobs to be done for a particular product, but the main takeaway is that whenever you're internally describing what a product does, everybody should know who uses it for that, and why.

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