Building Interrelational Personas: How to better represent users as personas within complex, distributed and/or collaborative products and services

Coral 4

Over the course of my career, I have had a long and passionate love/hate relationship with personas. I understand how they can be a powerful tool that shines light on who we are developing for, but often times see how they are over simplified, provide the wrong data points, and tell character stories that don’t get at the heart of what we need to know about our users. This is particularly problematic for complex and B2B products and services where how a given persona operates depends as much on who they are as how they relate to others in their organisation. If we are researching and developing personas as a means of making users seem more relatable, then why aren’t we focused on the things we need to understand about them as a whole, and in relation to each other and not just as a simple architype?

In this talk, I will take a deeper look at how personas can give us a powerful look at not just the traits and features of the people we are designing for, but the complex and interrelation patterns that connect them to other users on the same journey. Whether it be how 2 personas relate to and support each other as peers; to knowing how each differ in their influence, ownership, and decision-making power. Instead of just looking at who they are, but how they exist in their organisation and collaborate on shared goals.

I will walk through the genesis of Interrelational Personas and why I believe they are an important way of representing users in products where their relationships and interactions with each other are as important as their individual needs.

Using a case study on B2B personas in Supply Chain Management, I will walk through: Methodology, Approach, Outcomes, and Stakeholder Acceptance.

I will share tips and tricks to making the case for this type of research and how to better use the outcomes to drive user-related conversations within your product teams.

Entry level Tools and Techniques