RE: [agile-usability] Who is using multiple personae for one job role?
> I would say that JimTheEagerHobbyPhotographer is a different role thanresponsibilities,
> MarthaTheSeventyYearOldGrandma. I view roles as identifying
> objectives, and goals and persona as identifying humanchararacteristics that will
> affect interpretation and behavior. Jim and Martha have differentgoals. That would
> put them into different roles for me - which means they are likely tohave different
> task priority..Are they really?
My understanding of UserRoles is that they describe a particular kind of
RELATIONSHIP that a particular person may have with the system at a
particular point in time.
Jim and Martha on the other hand are PEOPLE who will have all kinds of
different relationships with the system at different time.
In other words, Jim and Martha are global in scope. They color the
design of each and every part of the system. User Roles like PhotoEditor
or StoryTeller on the other hand, color specific parts of the system
(which may be distributed across different modules of the system, but
will typically not cover each and every functionality of the system).
For reference, below are the two profiles that Jim Leask came up with
(btw: that's Jim the eager hobby photographer ;-). Yes, we were doing a
bit of "self-centered design" because that was only an exercise after
I think all of the information contained in those profiles is important
and will deeply affect the design of the system as a whole. But I don't
see how you could easily pigeon hole it into a UserRole like PhotoEditor
Name: Jim the eager hobby photographer
* Take beautiful and cool pictures but not for sale
* Experiment with digital photography, and digital photo
* Share the beauty of his pictures with friends, relatives but
* Owns a high end digital SLR (DSLR) camera, and multiple
lenses, flashes, and other camera equipment
* Takes about 5,000 pictures per year
* Shoots in both RAW and JPEG format
* Works with Photoshop to process images
* Often takes photos of his children's team sports, family and
other events, and shares the photos with participants of the event.
* Prints 8x10 photos on a home consumer grade photo printer,
but is interested in the professional grade printers that are
* He cares about his images, but struggles with keeping track
* Works as a computer consultant, and uses disposable income on
* Buys high end computer equipment and accessories because they
are cool and might be useful
* has a Rogers Extreme internet connection (as high speed as
* Subscribes to one or more photography or Photoshop magazines,
and has a bookshelf full of photo processing books.
Name: Martha - the 80 year old grandma
* View and share photos of family and friends
* Not worry about the details of how anything works
* Owns a point-and-shoot digital camera, but doesn't know how
to operate it very well
* Takes about 100 photos per year. Although she likes them,
they are fairly low quality (from a profesionnal photographer's point of
Martha doesn't mind this "low-quality".
* Receives about 100 photos per year from friends and family,
usually by email
* The camera and computer are confusing. She frequently asks
her son for help
* She has a 3 year old computer and connects to the internet
with a dial-up modem
* Currently shares photos by taking a CD of photos to the grocery
be printed (multiple copies) and sending prints by surface mail to
relatives. She finds cutting a CD difficult and often gives up on it.
* Loves to show her photos to everyone who visits. They are a
* Many of the people she wants to share pictures with do not own
* Has very little disposable income.
> > With corporate software, there is an existingI do find that I use personas less often in the
> > structure that groups people by function,
> > education, and those introduce a minimal amount
> > of uniformity (again, I'm not saying that
> > individual differences don't exist within
> > a same work unit... Just saying that there
> > is a bit more uniformity there).
> Look closely at anything and uniformity disappears.
> ( http://
> www.despair.com/individuality.html )
enterprise and more often in the consumer world, but I
would attribute this to the relative "horizontal-ness"
of the system under consideration, rather than the
"enterprise-ness" of system.
When you have a very vertical application in the
enterprise context, roles can go a long way and are
often a good enough model to use--especially when
combined with feedback from actual users.
But when the system is more horizontal--a phone system
perhaps--personas become more useful because the role
"phone user" doesn't get you very far.
I agree with Jared that the closer you look, the less
uniformity you have. Thus "horizontal-ness" is
something of an artificial distinction. If are
motivated to look at any vertically-defined role
closely enough, if you spend enough money and time,
you can make a vertical role as horizontal as you
So what determines "horizontal-ness?" I would argue
that (in terms of deciding whether you use personas as
a design tool) you consider both the intrinsic
differences of behavior and motivation, but also the
extrinsic factors: namely the relative value of
investigating those differences on any given project,
and the relative motivation of the client to pay for