Magazine article Information Today

Factiva: Personas in the Workflow

Magazine article Information Today

Factiva: Personas in the Workflow

Article excerpt

When it comes to professional workflows, do you consider yourself a Captain, a Compass, or a Scout?

If you're not sure, you might want to see what the product design team at Dow Jones has discovered after watching and analyzing how people work. This yearlong ethnographic analysis resulted in the creation of six workplace personas as part of the methodology to understand how people interact in a corporate workflow. Greg Merkle, vice president of product design and information architecture at Dow Jones, has been involved in this research that examines the core ecosystem of information inside the enterprise and how users seek, search, and share information.

"At the beginning, we had a simplistic view of our market," says Merkle. "We had information professionals, and we had end users." But he says the latest research expanded upon these two markets in a big way. While company titles-whether product manager, CEO, or middle manager-may describe a person's basic job functions, they don't tell you how each of them fits into the overall workflow. The focus is more about the behavior of the key individuals than any specific job function, he says, and he says he's getting a better understanding of who the customers are.

Merkle and his team created the following six personas:

* The Compass--An executive visionary who relies on past, present, and future patterns, activities, and forecasts to make long-term decisions; needs high-level views as well as granular information

* The Connector--A strategic bridge in a company who is embroiled in all facets of the news; curates and shares information with colleagues and clients

* The Captain--A leadership delegator who monitors trends in the industry and focuses on analyzing new information to influence short-term decisions; passes along initial research to others

* The Miner--A self-motivated investigator who seeks industry-specific information and searches current events; needs information to keep up-to-date on industry opportunities

* The Scout--A news seeker who channels information to what is needed for current work projects; focuses on topics in his or her specific responsibility area

* The InfoPro--A next-generation corporate librarian who is adept at using search and databases; assesses value of market reports and white papers

Merkle says the usability studies were done without users knowing that Dow Jones was conducting the research. …

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