• Sean Keenan

Expanding your Persona's


Every website has a main audience that they’re trying to reach, such as shopping websites appealing to whatever the core consumer of their product is. While you can assume some things about your audience, one of the easier ways to gain a better understanding of who your audience is and what they desire is to create persona’s, more specifically expansive persona’s


Understanding Persona’s


I’ve discussed Persona’s a few times before, as I’ve created many projects that use them. Typically, the persona’s are a single image with brief descriptions and bullet points listing the key aspects of the Persona

How a usual persona looks


These are effective as they can provide you a great sense of detail into a more specific user. As stated here by Jeff Sauro of Measuringu, persona’s being “people” let them answer much more specific questions than a generic user


Personas are able to provide details to important questions that a “user” cannot define. - Which information is necessary at which point of the day? - Is the user concentrating on only one thing at a time? - Does the user have frequent interruptions during their experience? - Why is he/she using the product? - What motivates him/her to use this specific product over a competitor’s? By using a persona to answer these questions, product design teams can actually be in the user’s shoes, and can better meet a real user’s needs and wants. Personas are not what people tell you about themselves; they are observations and descriptions of why (motivation) a person does what he/she does.

As seen earlier though, persona’s are often a single page and made independent of each separate persona. While this is often plenty, there are times where you need a little more. Not just a single person, but a greater sense of narrative and connection to other persona’s. This can be labeled as expansive persona’s.


Expansive Persona’s


For this task, I made two separate expansive persona’s, each based on potential users of the site Fangraphs.com. To start, I began by recreating myself as a persona to get a better handle on what the persona would contain and how it would be structured. I also used a list for what an expansive persona would contain so I knew what questions to ask. Similar to normal persona’s, items such as descriptions, quotes and photos start it off.

A designed the photo to look similar to this old Mickey Mantle card



The differences began showing though as we got closer to the bottom. Questions such as what triggers you to go to the site and the environment you’re in when visiting are much greater detailed than the typical persona questions I use. They also make you think about the site differently. While I felt nothing too interesting involving my own persona with these questions, my second persona, Danny Sportsman, had unique answers.

As he goes on fangraphs for a career, he only uses the desktop version of the site



As Danny is a writer for fangraphs, I realized that a potential environment for his site usage is the writer's box when a game is happening. Writers are expected to tweet and prepare their wrap ups during games, so Danny will frequently be in that box while on fangraphs.


The last main sticking point to expansive persona’s is how they connect with each other. The template ends with both a persona family and matrix. These allow you to see what other potential users of the site are on every persona, as well as see how they compare.

How the matrix looks for my personal persona



All together, it creates a very cohesive set of persona’s. It’s almost like a trading card game, with persona’s coming in a set, all connected to each other because they’re on the same team. This not only makes them easier to utilize for site changes, but also allows designers to see how they can design and accommodate for many different users


Full Keenan Persona


Full Sportsman Persona


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© 2020 by Sean Keenan.