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Case Study

Persona Development

The Client Needed Help With: Understanding The Product Audience
What We Did: Interviews, Personas, User Stories
Target Audience: Managers of Large Websites

The Challenge

The client wanted to understand what the priorities were for a variety of managers responsible for large websites.

The Solution

We arranged interviews with several individuals who matched the client’s target audience. From our discovery, we drafted three personas to inform app development.

Madison Persona Image

Note: The picture above is meant to communicate that Madison is a young, up and coming manager. She’s busy, but comfortable working from anywhere, so she makes the most of her day. She cares about her team, but she’s not a micro-manager. The image accomplishes these goals by placing Madison, well dressed, with simple makeup and clean (not colored) nails, in a public space, casually checking her work on a tablet, rather than a laptop.

Madison Jackson-Crane

Communications Manager
University Library

Note: This name was selected because it portrays a feeling of modern urban sophistication. The hyphenated last name shows that she feels equal to her partner, but also proud of her own family name. She’s an independent forward-thinking woman.


“We can achieve anything with the right level of patience and fortitude.”

Note: The tagline came from observing managers that are especially good at moving forward despite organizational politics that could hold many people back.

Personal Information

Age: 32

Gender: Female

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from a Highly-Respected State School

Note: This age, gender, and education were chosen, because there are more young women in management positions, especially within communications, in the past 5 years. It communicates that the user population is often women with a passion for communicating about things that matter to them. They are comfortable being in charge, even though they’re often younger than their direct reports. They expect to be treated with respect, and they lead their lives with conviction.

Business Domain Information

  • Madison manages a team of 5 people, and a website with 5,000 pages.
  • She likes to see where the team’s projects stand without interrupting her direct reports.
  • She needs to know what percent of a project is compete to feel good about progress.
  • She prefers visuals (diagrams, charts, etc.) over text to communicate.

Note: This business domain information shows that Madison will relate to our app because she’s a big-picture manager who doesn’t like spending time on minutia. She wants proof of things moving forward while still giving her team space and freedom to work.

Pet Peeve

Madison hates undue oversight. She feels that people should be able to work from anywhere, anytime, as long as they get their work done.

Other People Say

Madison is a go getter. She’s trustworthy and forthright, so you always know where you stand with her. Nobody has anything bad to say about her.

The “I Get It” Factors

  1. Madison holds herself to a high standard. She worked hard to get to where she is now, and she wants to make the most of available technology to prove what’s possible.
  2. Madison trusts her team, but also feels pressure from her managers to prove that they’re making progress. She’s focused on strategically advancing her team’s influence, and doesn’t want to be held back by something as trivial (her thoughts) as moving pages from one site to another.

Note: These factors make the best connection to our developer engineers because they demonstrate that although Madison appears “perfect” at face value, there are chinks in her armor. Her goal is to appear completely in control and confident all the time, but she needs good tech to help her.

Madison, in Her Own Words

I grew up in a middle-class home. Both my parents worked, and my mom always wanted me to go to college to be an independent woman who could pay her own way. I know my mom loves my dad, but she felt pressured to marry, and she didn’t want that for me. She tells me that she’s glad times are changing.

This is the third place I’ve worked. I started at NPR as a tech for a couple of popular podcasts. Honestly, sometimes I feel a little out of my element, being a manager with everyone who reports to me having more experience. But I think my previous work at NPR, then a local news station, gave the people who hired me a feeling that I knew the ins and outs of communications well. I do, of course. But I also have people on my team who’ve been writing or communicating for many years. They’re smart and, except for one person who is considering a career change, they’re all very motivated. They seem to like me—I mean, I haven’t gotten the impression that they resent me for being younger. I hope I’m right about that.

I try to give my team space, while encouraging them to use new tech that could make their work and lives easier. It’s not as hard as it could be, since we work in tech communications, but sometimes it’s still a struggle. You have to be willing to dig through the junk to find good apps, sometimes. I’m willing to dig, but sometimes they get tired of it and want to just keep doing what they always have, using excel spreadsheets to track things, or whatever. I know because they tell me, and because they have a lot of work on their plates. We’re a busy team.

I love the benefits of working at a university. I feel like I can come and go as I please. I try to take a short walk every day, and I attend yoga classes once or twice a week, depending on my workload. Joan, one of my direct reports, recommended it. I’ve asked her to join me, but she’s always saying she’s busy. I’m a little concerned that she doesn’t make time to get away from her desk. I only ever see her eating Oreos or KitKats from the vending machine. I’ve never seen her eat anything healthy. It’s kind of funny, on some levels, because she doesn’t look like someone who’d love sugar. But I worry about her. She’s my best performer and I don’t want her to burn out. I rely on her heavily to know how the team is doing and if I could be doing things better too. We’ve built a nice relationship that I look forward to here. I’m hoping to stick it out at this job for a while.

Let's Work Together

There is absolutely no pressure, ever. We’re interested in building long-term relationships. Don’t hesitate to call, but do plan ahead, so we can get to know you. Initial project consultations are always free.

Bring us in early. We can evaluate everything from rough proof of concept sketches to completely branded designs (including information architecture drafts in Excel, paper prototypes, wireframes, clickable prototypes, visual comps, high-fidelity prototypes, and live websites or apps).