My team has a collection of different personas, some of which are customers, some users, and some are intermediaries that influence the purchases and . A persona map of these is pretty messy and I'm not sure how to organize and update them over time. Even further, we have persona maps for the customers & the users already and as we start studying the intermediaries, I'm concerned about the complexity of information we're trying to provide. I'm looking to see if anyone can share their methods for managing a complex set of roles they design for and how they present them to teams and internal stakeholders.

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You can find some good pointers on organizing and developing personas in About Face 4. I am going to summarize it here along with inputs based on my personal experience.

Developing and Organizing by Behavioral Patterns

You can identifying behavioral variables and then relate them to the subjects. These, in turn, depend on factors like activities, attitudes, aptitutdes, motovations and skills. Quoting some details from the book:

  • Activities: What the user does.
  • Attitudes: How user think about the product domain and technology
  • Aptitudes: What education and training the user has
  • Motivations: Why the user is engaged in the product domain
  • Skills: User abilities related to product domain and technology

These factors will vary from project to project.

Personal experience: We identified 8 factors/role for our educational social networking site. In addition to above, it included factors like Subject Rigor, Study style (Individual or Group) and Learning Mediums. This really helped us in developing and organizing user archetypes.

Once you've identified the behavioral variables, you can related them to subjects and define the variables on a range. Consider the following example from the book:

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The interview subjects are mapped across each behavioral axis. Clusters of subjects across multiple axes indicate significant behavior patterns.

Personal experience: Organizing personas by behavioral pattern range really makes it easy to present to stakeholders. It gives a clear picture of the study and does not require detailed justifications.

Primary, Secondary, Served and Anti Personas

I don't know if you've already done this, but it's important to classify and organize personas in primary, secondary, served and anti types.

Primary personas are the main target of interface design. You identify a primary persona by comparing their goals with goals of other personas. Seondary personas have additional needs that can be adjusted without disturbing the ability to serve primary persona.

Served personas are not users of the product but are directly affected by the use of the product. In our case, parents were served personas as students formed our primary persona.

Anti personas don't use your product. They should not be the target of your product.

Personal Experience: For our educational social networking site, we identified students as primary personas, teachers as secondary and parents as served.

There can be other way to develop and organize personas but the above-mentioned helped us the most in our project.

Hope this was useful to you too! :)

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