Chapter 13. Document and Share User Models

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Document and Share User Models

A team shared a persona with a client. After listening to the presentation, the client asks, “Why do we need this? What does this do for us?” The persona, though informative, failed to share anything useful.

User models are the TL;DR of user research. Also called personas, profiles, or archetypes, user models transform a wall of sticky notes or endless attribute grid into a simple format that team members understand, so they can build products that users need and love.

Most user models document information like pain points, needs, and goals (Figure 13-1). Once documented, what do you do with that information? Well, that depends on where you are in the process. Put another way, what the team needs to do changes how you should document your user model.

Figure 13-1

User models document user information like pain points, needs, and goals (gibbon photo by Eric Kilby, www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby/4877055767).

User models condense a broad variety of information about a user into something your team can understand at a glance. The best user models communicate the point in less space—like a brief or infographic. Unfortunately, most teams don’t include people who can write briefs and design infographics. To make good user models, you have to learn how to write briefs and create infographics.

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