Steady on the Value of Designing Personas that "Stick"
Steady used dscout to recruit a diverse participant pool for a longitudinal study focused on developing robust user personas.
When Jasmine Hentschel started as Steady’s sole user researcher, she knew the first order of business was making introductions. Namely, she had to get her marketing team, product team, and company’s leadership acquainted with their users.
“I did an audit of any research that had been conducted so far—and it was a weird smattering of things done by marketing people or contractors,” she says. “And as I did stakeholder interviews with different teams, the question that came up consistently was, ‘Who are we even designing for? Who are our target users right now?’”
So she kicked off a longitudinal study to generate better personas. The first step? Carefully chosen recruits.
“The recruiting process for personas work was difficult because you’re screening when you don’t know who you’re looking for yet,” she says. “We wanted to see some people in person, but we needed insights from other parts of the country. We needed better demographic and geographic diversity. dscout Recruit was a great solution for that.”
After selecting a wide sample of 50 best-fit participants, they used dscout to explore four different aspects of users’ relationship with extra spending money, or additional income sources. Broadly, they wanted to learn:
- What are people’s high-level financial goals, short term and long term?
- How do people research ways to make money?
- How do people manage their money?
- What are their day to day feelings about money?
A longitudinal study design, for Jasmine’s team, turned out to be invaluable for getting representative data to draw from.
“One of the differences between in-person research and remote research is the longitudinal aspect. With dscout and diary studies, we can engage with a particular group over a period of time,” she says. “That’s so valuable for us in talking about things like money and work, because it’s not something that people feel the same way about every single day—so being able to interact over a long period of time is important.”
In the end, Jasmine was able to construct robust personas that change the way her company thinks about user voice, and establishes product priorities.
“The study data has helped me be able to sit in meetings with leadership where we’re talking about features and feature prioritization and say, ‘You want to do this, but here’s what the users actually need. Here’s Shawn in New Hampshire describing his work as a mechanic. Does that change your thinking?’”