Virtual Seminar

The Power of Ad Hoc Personas: Truly Practical Methods to Get Your Organization On the Same Page 

February 2010

60 minutes

  • See how effective and efficient ad hoc personas can be
  • Overcome harmful issues in your organization
  • Align your goals and your personas
  • Tell the stories of your personas from end-to-end
Topics:

When you kick off a project right, everything is much easier. When that doesn't happen, the team pays the price. We've all seen projects where, part way in, a well-intentioned executive derailed the team by changing the direction. To prevent this, we want to put everyone with the power to take the project off course, on to the same course.

Tamara Adlin has developed a great technique to make that alignment happen, which she calls Ad Hoc Personas. Her method, borrowed from research-based personas, creates characters out of information the organization already has at their fingertips. They're inexpensive and easy to create, ensuring a customer focus from the very start of the project.

Because they leverage the solid reputation of more formal persona techniques, it's easy to sell management on them. But don't let their simplicity fool you—Tamara's Ad Hoc Personas are a power tool that every UX professional needs in their repertoire, whether you're tackling a website, hammering out an intranet, or designing the newest version of a product.

The secret behind Tamara's method is how it pulls out the knowledge already present inside the walls around you. Within your organization, there's already been a lot of talk of who the users are and what they're trying to do. Sales, marketing, support, and development all have their own ideas about who to build for. While there are many conflicts and contradictions in these perspectives, if you piece them together, you get a very rich view of users.

  • See how effective and efficient ad hoc personas can be

    • Distinguish between ad-hoc personas and data-driven personas
    • Examine the many benefits of ad-hoc personas such as clarifying business objectives
  • Overcome harmful issues in your organization

    • Fix hidden personas and barnacle-based design in your products
    • Cover up your “corporate underpants”
  • Align your goals and your personas

    • Walk through the steps of a sticky note exercise
    • Create a persona-weighted feature matrix to keep everyone on the same page
  • Tell the stories of your personas from end-to-end

    • Design end-to-end stories, a conversation between you and the persona
    • Develop design maps that collect design ideas while pointing out trouble points

In this seminar, Tamara will walk you through her method for implementing these Ad Hoc Personas. She'll show you her trick for extracting everyone's perspectives, by focusing on the users and their needs. You'll see how she makes a tough job quite straightforward: getting senior management and key stakeholders to reach a consensus on which users are most important. And, you'll learn how to key those managers focused on the users as you start to identify the key functional requirements.