This project involved gathering the extensive information needed to construct a total of 25 distinct personas, spanning 5 different market segments.



Initially I created ad-hoc personas, and then began the work of separating assumptions from facts. This meant finding representative users and conducting contextual interviews, which allowed me to develop more accurate and reliable personas.


  • Contextual inquiry
  • Observational research
  • Affinity mapping
  • Excel  



There was no accurate picture of the diverse set of current users. This knowledge gap became more pronounced whenever our team had to make design decisions such as determining whether or not to keep or discard a feature.  



Numerous different user types

We had a broad range of customers that spanned five different market segments.  Within each market segment, we identified at least five user types. 

Difficulty reaching out to users

It was difficult to schedule time with representative users.



Building straw men

The first step in this process was determining what was important for us to know about each persona in order to establish the best methods for collecting data. 

Utilizing information from industry magazines, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, we were able to build ad-hoc personas to use as a starting point.

Contextual inquiry

We reached out to our pool of representative users, and asked if we could spend anywhere from a few hours to an entire day with them. Our goal was to capture a day in the life of our users, and to gain a more thorough understanding of the users and their needs.

Affinity mapping

Affinity mapping was the most effective way to visually separate assumptions from facts.  Once we established a reliable picture of who our users were and how they spent their time, we began developing more refined versions of the personas. 

Adding Data

Usage data was incorporated to make ad-hoc personas more relevant for business use.

 Strawman example

Strawman example

 Afinity mapping results

Afinity mapping results

 Refined persona

Refined persona


The final product was a relatively accurate view of our users and customers, presented in a concise way that made it easy for different departments to consume.