Clicks & Notes

02 March 2005

Steps in Creating Quality Personas

Avenue A / Razorfish - Creating Quality Personas: Understanding the Levers that Drive User Behavior (PDF, 778 kb)

The persona is a design tool that enforces discipline in the site development process. Because there are many ways to define a user and his or her complex set of motivations, creating a precise persona with a detailed personality, background and behavior helps to focus the design team on meeting the distinct goals and needs of a particular user type. In addition, defining and designing for a set of specific personas helps to avoid the common practice of trying to design for all users.

  • three basic steps in the persona development process:
    • identify target research segments – review a company’s existing customer segments and supporting market research
    • conduct qualitative research with real people – techniques can include ethnographic observation and interviews, diaries, etc.
    • analyze the data and develop the personas – look for attitudinal patterns, contexts, behaviors
  • scope considerations for persona development:
    • size and diversity of the customer base
    • geographic reach
    • depth of behavioral frameworks – deeper insights require multiple data collection methods and more intensive analysis
    • desire to quantify qualitative results – personas can be “tested” through quanitative methods such as surveying

(Via GUUUI.)

See also this previous post: Creating Personas

⇒ Filed under:  by jen @ 11:56 pm

Usability, IA, and Analytics - Prioritize Usability Testing and Web Analytics

  • usability testing and web analytics have a common goal – measuring a site’s ability to drive user conversions – but they approach this differently:

    Web analytics measure visitor intent and persuasive momentum, as well as the site’s ability to move visitors through a conversion scenario.

    Usability examines the site’s interface and process barriers that keep visitors from accomplishing a conversion task.

  • using analytics allows you to track actual actions taken on the site, in real time, with a very large sample group
  • usability testing, with individual respondents, provides insight into what happens in particular instances; however, artificial nature of the testing environment doesn’t necessarily provide an accurate reflection of user engagement
  • on combining the two approaches:

    Generally speaking, use Web analytics to determine where to make site changes and usability tests to determine what to test.

(Via Column Two.)

Update 03 March 2005: One thing that occured to me (and is not – in my mind – explicity stated in the above-noted article) about making use of both web analytics and usability testing when optimizing your site:

  • analytics will tell you where the roadblocks occur on your site; usability testing will tell you why

Hurol Inan - Web Analytics – The Voice of Users in Information Architecture Projects, and Hurol Inan - Information Architecture through Web Analytics

  • both articles discuss incorporating web analytics into the information architecture process
  • areas examined by a web analyst include:
    • Website usage by content category
    • Popular and not-so-popular elements of each content category
    • Affinity between content categories
    • Major tasks and possible frustration points
    • On-site search usage, including where users revert to searching

Hurol Inan - Information Architecture – The Key to HTML Email Optimization

  • designing an HTML email is also a form of information architecture
  • regarding email click-to-open rates:

    A great majority of users only click on a single link – with the average number of clicks by a clicking user ranging anywhere from 1.2 to 1.8

  • applying IA principles to email can improve this rate dramatically – in one case:

    We saw a 50% improvement on the click-to-open rate and a four-fold increase on clicks on feature content.

(Preceding three links via iaSlash.)

See also this previous post: Web Analytics and Continual Site Optimization

⇒ Filed under:  by jen @ 11:23 pm

© Jennifer Vetterli, 2005