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Donn DeBoard

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Personas: Designing engaging content for customer intimacy

Donn R. DeBoardMid-Atlantic Technical Communication Summit

March 26, 2011

About the presenter25 years in technical communications, specializing in software documentationSenior Information Developer, Vertex Inc. in Berwyn, PA2011 STC Associate FellowMultiple STC Summit Awards over 10 year periodJudge in local and international STC Summit Awards over 12 year periodInformation Architecture Institute Usability Professionals Association

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What about youShare a little about yourself.Share your reasons for coming to this conference. Any first time attendees here.Share your expectations for this session.

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AgendaWhat are personas?Documentation development lifecycle and personasPersonas and shared understandingPersonas and customer intimacyPersona development lifecycleAn example personaQuestions & answers

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Defining termsUser experience (UX) "a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use of a product, system or service. (ISO 9241-210).Customer intimacy close partnership, intertwined relationship (DNA).Preferred content content of first choice.

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What are personas? Introducing personas Why are personas important? The missing link Technical Communication Body of

Knowledge (TCBOK)

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Introducing personas

Like characters on a stage, personas are not actual people.Personas are fictitious, specific, and concrete representations of target users. (Aldin/Pruitt) Personas help address the needs of a large group of customers by focusing on a fictional representation.

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Introducing personasPersonas are User-Centered Design tools that put a face on your user. Personas illustrate a users story using your product, service, or content.Summarize your user research findings to understand your target audience. (Jahagirtdar and Martin)Represent a type of user. Includes a concise summary of general characteristics of the user, goals and tasks, and pain points. (UPA-BOK)

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Persona communityCommunity of people who use your product, service, or content.Context and motivation.Primary persona.Secondary persona.Stakeholders persona.Focus on 1-3 personas, prioritized for importance.

(Olsen)

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Why are personas important?Technical communicators use audience analysis and skill requirements.Skills to use software in perfect world.Focuses only on what users do, but not how, when, and why.Provides one dimensional understanding.

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The missing linkNo real-world context or motivation.Missing the day-in-the-life description of customer.Missing real-world factors that impact how customers use your content (multiple projects, priorities, stress).

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Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK)

STC Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK)

http://tcbok.editme.com/PersonasSTC interviewed members to create personas. Fictional representations for STC TCBOK.Review the persona community for TCBOK.Show persona for Senior Technical Writer.

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A sampling of TCBOK PersonasCaroline Landry: Lead Writer in a Company Moving into International MarketsConsuela Roehl: Technical Communicator Whose Responsibilities are Being OutsourcedEric Hernandez: High School Student Planning Technical Communication Career

Jimmy Chin: College Student Planning Technical Communication CareerKate Watkins: Information Development Manager Creating a Technical Communication Department for the CompanyLinda Atesh: IT Practitioner Wanting to Change to a Technical Writer CareerRandy Green: Technical Writer Wanting to Stay Current

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Caroline, Senior Technical WriterClick to edit Master text styles

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Caroline scenariosClick to edit Master text styles

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Caroline tasksClick to edit Master text styles

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Personas and TCBOK UXPersonas in TCBOK are:

Development tool to create TCBOK.

Navigation tool to help users find information.

Personas are a bridge between target audience for TCBOK and content on site.

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A closer look: your thoughts?

Questions?Comments?

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Documentation Lifecycle and personas Beginning with personas Sources for customer research Stages of Documentation Development

Lifecycle (DDL) Path to preferred content

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Beginning with personas

Customer research helps frame your customers story performing tasks using your product, service, or content.What does a day-in-the-life of your customer look like?Talk to customer-facing staff to identify and understand customers.

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Sources for customer research

Customer facing staff (Sales, Consulting, Product Support)Conference callsSocial mediaFocus groupsSurveysSite visitsDocumentation mailbox

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Storytelling Stories in UX

Explain research ideas.Engage the imagination and spark new ideas.Create shared understanding.Persuade.

(Quesenbery/Brooks)

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StorytellingStories: Personas in motionProvide context.Provide motivation/goals.Type of stories.

Context or situation.

Springboard stories (typical predicament).

Points of pain stories.

(Quesenbery/Brooks)

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Bill, the Programmer personaProgrammers GuideDesign, code, and test programs, systems analysis. Juggling multiple, high priority projects. Time is at a premium.Wants quick overview material with ability to scan for details. Does not read dense material.Technology savvy, uses RSSs.Likes online help.

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Stages of Documentation Development Lifecycle (DDL)

Requirements analysisDocumentation planningWritingReviewingProductionArchiving

(Jahagirdar & Martin)

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Benefits of personas for documentation

Focuses writers on users and their goals.Encourages consensus among stakeholders and SMEs for content and level of detail.Enables all stakeholders to make better decisions.Provides ongoing connection point to customers.

(Jahagirdar & Martin)

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Path to preferred contentPersonas provide a more focused view of customer.Your content can connect more closely with real-world customer work context.More focused content enhances customer success in performing a real-time task.

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