Customers – who are these people?

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I have talked about how to track customers, measure them and grade them.

But who are they?

You should strive to have, in a document, a description of the various people using your product. This document becomes invaluable when trying to spec out new capabilities in your product.

Commonly, customer personas are used to “allow the team to filter out personal quirks and focus on motivations and behaviors typical of a broad range of users, while still relating to users as individuals.” (source here). It is important to understand, even on the surface level, the type of person who will use your product, and derive from that what’s important for that person.

For instance: how technical are the customers of “feature A” ?

  • If they are tech-savvy sysadmins, they will appreciate functionality such as batch operations controlled by a .csv file.
  • But, if they are (random example based on truth 🙂 )graphic designer or rich content creators, they will be more appreciative functionality that is less techie and better designed for ease of use.
  • The busy users (executives..) will not want to spend time learning your product, and will push for a one page summary (or less 🙂 )
A product (once it arrives at a certain level of complexity) will have multiple different roles accessing it. Invest the effort, build the personas, and use them to create different levels of access for your product. It will serve your users well. The examples above will benefit from content tailored to their needs. Keep in mind the questions similar to the following (and more, depending on the personas):
  • Are they tech-savvy users or just users?
  • Are they executives (interested in the bottom line) or  admins (interested in the line report)
  • Are they looking to use once, or are they accessing your product every day to do routine tasks?
Even a product already designed with multiple different roles accessing it, can have multiple different user levels (“simplified mode”, “expert mode”). Try and enjoy!
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