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Personas Revamp

Time: 2023 Summer
Team Size: 1
Role: UX Researcher
Tools: SurveyMonkey, Card Sorting, Miro

UX Research Project @Guidewire

Before

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After

Overview

This project was initiated by me when working as a UX Researcher at Guidewire Software in summer 2023. Aiming at revamping the UX persona intranet page, the project greatly streamlined the product decision-making process across the company.

What did I do?

  • Business Discovery: Identified an opportunity to enhance the operation efficiency across the product development team, polished a research question, and initiated this project;

  • Mix-method user research: Recruit over 40+ users within our company to conduct a series of research activities including Surveys, Interviews, and Card Sorting;

  • Secure buy-ns: Crafted a story and communicated my findings to the stakeholders and UX team and got buy-ins to continue this project

Context

Nobody uses the intranet page... 

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Frustration &

Inefficiency:

We just migrated to using Google suite and Sharepoint links stopped working.

PM Initiative: "Our persona page needs to be updated as it has no thread and it's all over the place in how we are categorizing it". 

Hindering product 
decision making

Our old UX persona page has poor organization and low site visits

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Inability to query
key info
:

Persona Cards are stored in flat PDFs, hence users cannot search

Problem

How can they be accessing personas so inefficiently??

Scoping the problem:

In order to validate the findings from the PM initiative, I conducted some preliminary interviews to scope the problem.

Preliminary Interviews

5 Participants

PMs & Designers

Findings:

  • People are accessing personas in a not-standardized, not-streamlined, and inefficient manner

  • Designers are aware of the UX Personas Page, while a large portion of PMs are unaware of this.

"Most of the time I just ask people who I know have done projects with it [this persona]. Sometimes I go to my Slack and find the links."

- UX Manager

Insights: Problem Statement

"How might we provide easy access to critical information to help Product Development Department make product decisions efficiently?"

Product Development Team

  • Can access persona efficiently and in a streamlined manner

  • Help them find other secondary personas for their product

UX Team

  • Increase the exposure of our work 

  • Have a centralized hub to store our personas

UXR Team

  • Set up a framework that’s easy to maintain and update 

Process

Good ol' Double Diamond (at least looking back it is...) 

In order to gain more domain knowledge and understand the problem space, I researched different companies and looked into how they categorize their persona database. I also carried out secondary research into personas and insurance.

Competitive Analysis

5 companies + secondary research

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Spotify:

  • User goals:
    • discover new music

    • listen to their favorite artists

    • create playlists

    • Source

Dropbox:

  • User roles:

    • Freelancer

    • Small Business Owner

    • Enterprise User

  • Source

Airbnb:

  • User behaviors:

    • Experience Seeker

    • Budget Traveler

    • Luxury Traveler

  • Source

Compared with our current inventory:

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 by User Roles

Problems: 

  • Flat one-level categorization

  • Wrong Information hierarchy 

  • Not comprehensive Inventory

  • Confusing categories names
     

Moving forward, I brainstormed several future steps to push forward this project (see below):

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Based on the synthesized findings from the competitive analysis, I designed a survey and sent it out to the whole Product Development team, including PMs, Devs, Designers, and researchers, to get their feedback and thoughts on possible renovations to the persona categorization and the page overall.

Survey

13 Responses

PMs & Designers

Findings:

  • 10 access personas from channels other than the persona page

  • 6 think the current categorization is not effective

  • 5 want to see the inventory categorized by products

“It's about access to information and culture. [...] I'd say share it and point people to it more often”. 

“Regular updates and maintenance would ensure that it remains up-to-date and reflects the evolving user landscape”.

- Sr. Product Manager

- Lead UX Designer

Insights: 

  • The current categorization method works; but could add additional categorization based on product

  • Direct people to use the person page as the only centralized hub for the inventory

  • Regular updates and maintenance of the inventory are necessary

In order to test the categorization prototypes, I conducted several usability testing sessions with our PMs and Designers, since they will be the main users for the persona database. From there I received some feedback and generated a couple more iterations of the structure. 

Usability Testing

5 Participants

PMs, Designers & Researchers

Insights: 

  • Removing and re-phrasing certain categories, such as changing monitoring roles to analytics roles, etc.

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In order to lean on our users’ knowledge of personas and put personas in a place where they expect to see them, I conducted a closed card sorting activity. I decided to do closed cart sorting because it gives the users a starting point, and I can test the proposed structure at the same time

Card Sorting

12 Participants

Designers & Researchers

Findings:

I synthesized the findings from the card sorting activity, choosing an inclusive & quantitative approach:

UXD-4182 Personas Revamp - Final Categorization (Visual).jpg

Insights: 

  • There will be duplicates of the same persona -> under one category there will be primary & secondary personas

  • External vs. Internal may help users distinguish Guidewire roles and Insurer roles

  • Additional personas need to be developed in the future as there exists a large vacuum for our personas​

Results

Let's re-organize!

  • Positive qualitative Feedback from the Product Development team: 

    • I presented the final structure in 5 team meetings, including UX Clinic, and Product Weekly meetings. And got positive feedback from at least 10 designers and PMs. 

  • Stakeholder Buy-ins:

    • I also presented this to the Management team, including 3 UX managers and 1 PM manager, and got buy-ins from them to continue this project after my internship ends. 

    • Eventually, I transitioned my effort to a full-time UX researcher, who will be implementing my recommendations to the Persona Page. 

"I like that there are primary and secondary personas under one category. I can now locate what I want faster but at the same time not lose the context"

- Sr. UX Designer

  • Before & After:

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tree-after.png

Learnings

Information management and retrieval is a challenging task for every organization.

Because this project directly stemmed from the PM initiative, I just jumped into the problem space assuming that they have done the research to prove the problem exists. If I were to do this project again with more ample time, I would...

  • spend more time in the research stage and segment the project into a couple of sub-projects. As the findings in the project demonstrate, this is an overarching problem with a lot of sub-topics, such as database re-categorization, page interactivity design, outreach communications improvement, etc. 

The End

Huge thanks to Leslie and Mona for being my manager and mentor, who offered me tremendous support and guidance throughout.

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