Pragmatic Personas

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Now tell us about the product implications. This is where we start to see why the persona is relevant to the product. For each bit of information you write down about your persona, consider how you'd build the product differently as a result. When we considered that Chuck wanted his donation to matter, we decided that it meant our product should explicitly show what a small donation does.

Figure 2

Now What?
For our group at Mano a Mano, the first application we built was for the iPhone. It was a simple application that allows people to donate money. This little insight about letting people see the value of their donation caused the team to include the "support a cause" section on the donation page (see figure 2). In it were choices like "Help ship $1,500 worth of medical supplies" and "Purchase and plant five fruit trees." These are pretty specific things that help people like Chuck feel like a small amount of money really does result in something valuable to people in Bolivia and that the people at Mano a Mano helped.

Curiously, in the final application, most of the donations came through as general donations. According to Nate from Mano a Mano: "What I've found is that people are more likely to give if there are specific options available, e.g., pay the salary of a nurse, but then still tend to give undesignated donations. I have a few studies laying around that reach that conclusion as well." The feature gave Mano a Mano a chance to tell people about the specific things they were doing. People using the product found it fun to look over choices about how their money would be used, more fun than reading a big block of text. The insight that resulted in the feature choices came from thinking and talking about what was important to the people using this software. It was a bonus that later research supported the decision.

Try this with your product, but be careful. You're likely to find some interesting things your product could or should be doing for its users.

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About the author

Jeff Patton's picture Jeff Patton

Jeff Patton leads Agile Product Design, a small consultancy that focuses on creating healthy processes that result in products that customers love. Articles, essays, and blog can be found at www.AgileProductDesign.com. Information about public classes, including Certified Scrum Training, can be found at www.AgileProductDesign.com/training.

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