CoffeeBoy Strategy, Part II

Personas

It’s time to get to know our users! After we’ve convinced ourselves what we expect from our product, we’ll now learn what our users might expect from it. In this post we’ll engage a UX agency which will provide us (of course fictional) information about our potential user. Based on this information we’ll then form the representatives of our users: the personas Amy and Bob.

CoffeeBoy Series Schedule

Engaging a UX agency

As a company strongly leveraging UX design we cooperate with a UX agency since the development of our first product LawnBoy, and extended the cooperation for the development of LightingBoy and PoolBoy. Since the agency is highly specialized in UX we use to charge them with tasks like market research, user segmentation, user research, user testing, customer surveying, interviewing, and so on.

After the releases of our three products and therefore investing a lot of money into the investigation about our users, we now have a pretty clear picture of the people using our products. For CoffeeBoy, we want to build upon this knowledge. When it comes to our future product, though, we need particular knowledge about what’s special about our users in connection with the coffee domain. 1

So we contact our partner UX agency and brief them with the following mission:

We’re going to build a remotely controllable coffee machine capable of making multiple cups of coffee at once. By considering the knowledge about our existing users, who really appreciate our products in spite of the relatively high prices, please investigate the following questions:
(1) Who are the users regularly drinking coffee?
(2) What’s special about these users regarding their attitudes, habits, interests, lifestyles, opinions and values?
(3) In the context of their everyday life: what’s special about their coffee brewing and drinking behaviours?

One month after the briefing we receive the results. Let’s see in the next two sections what they’ve found out about CoffeeBoy’s potential users.

User segmentation

As we learned in UX Design Basics, Part I, user segmentation helps us to build groups of users which are similar with regard to their demographic (age, gender) and psychographic (interests, opinions) profiles.

After going through a rich knowledge base containing information about broodforce’s existing users and also conducting a market research, the UX agency discovered the below user groups. Thereby each groups’ users have commonalities in conjunction with their demographic respectively psychographic profiles. However, independently of their demographic and psychographic profiles, all of them have in common that they are not averse to drink coffee. And that’s a crucial criteria which makes them to potential CoffeeBoy users 🙂

Demographic segmentation

Gender
There is a small imbalance between the men and women group, namely 46% men vs. 54% women.

Age
The ages of the coffee liking users range between 30 and 50. 85% of them are older than 38. Consequently the UX agency introduced two groups in this demographic criteria: group 30 – 38 and group 39 – 50.

Family status
40% of all examined users are not married, whereas 60% are married.

Children
The none children group has a share of 45%. Then 55% have children.

Profession
Virtually all coffee liking users explored by the UX agency have an academic degree. 66% work for an IT company. The other users are occupied within the financial (12%) and health care (10%) sectors, are architects (4%) or jurists (3%). 5% have other professions or work in the household.

Psychographic segmentation

The following list contains groups with prevalent attitudes, habits, interests, lifestyles, opinions and values:

  • Religious (80%) vs. non-religious (20%)
  • Nutrition conscious (95%) vs. unconscious (5%)
  • Bio (90%) vs. conventional food consumer (10%)
  • Clothes rather colorful (49%) vs. rather achromatic (51%)
  • Politically left-oriented (53%)
  • Politically liberal (7%)
  • Politically conservative (40%)
  • Politically inactive (88%) vs. active (12%)
  • Not doing (59%) vs. doing sports (41%)
  • Not watching “classic” television (85%) vs. watching “classic” television (15%)
  • Not using (2%) vs. using video streaming services (98%)
  • Not using (36%) vs. using music streaming services (64%)
  • Early adopter (74%) vs. late adopter of innovative IT products (26%)
  • Technically rather adept (66%) vs. rather unversed (34%)
  • Not using APIs2 of IT products (82%) vs. using (18%)

Correlation groups

Once the UX agency finished the user segmentation activity, they started to identify correlations between all demographic and psychographic groups. That is, they checked if there are users who have all in common profiles like man, not married, religious, bio food consumer and regularly doing sports, for example. At that they discovered two very dominant correlation groups, as presented in the next two sections.

Group “IT Gals”
This group consists of women between 39 and 50, who work in the IT sector, are married and have children. What’s interesting is that 98% of their spouses do not work in the IT sector. Furthermore these women are religious, nutrition conscious, wear achromatic clothes, are politically left-oriented though inactive, don’t do sports, avoid “classic” TV program, regularly consume music and video streaming services, are generally early adopters of innovative IT products, are technically adept and use the APIs of their bought IT products.

Group “Smart Doctors”
The Smart Doctors group includes unmarried men between 39 and 50 who work in the health care sector. They are characterized by being religious, conventional food consumers, politically conservative, “classic” TV program consumers, early adopters of innovative IT products and technically rather adept.

Out of all users which were examined by the UX agency, 55% belong to the IT Gals group, whereas 15% got assigned to the Smart Doctors group. For 30% of the users there do not exist clear correlations.

User research

After having finished the user segmentation activity the UX agency contacted us in order to clarify which groups should be further explored by means of user research activities. According to the UX agency’s recommendation we decided to pay full attention to the dominant IT Gals group including 55% of all users.

The UX agency then invited respectively visited users whose profile matches the one described by the IT Gals group. In order to learn more about their general behaviors, needs and desires, and their particular coffee brewing and drinking habits, the UX agency conducted surveying, interviewing and contextual designing.

The following list includes insights about the IT Gals from the UX agency’s user research activities:

  • For the most part wears black clothes.
  • Prefers online stores over waisting time with “classic” shopping.
  • Avoids social networks. Instead uses chats.
  • Develops own software in her spare time.
  • Hates being disturbed while she’s coding.
  • Considers self-employment.
  • Prefers a rich feature set and flexibility in software rather than design bells and whistles.
  • Complains about the general decrease of quality in today’s products.
  • As much as possible improves the efficiency of household duties with IT products.
  • Encourages her children and husband to use IT products as well.
  • Owns many though unused IT devices like the Raspberry PI.
  • Loves to demonstrate her newest IT products or her own bricolage.
  • Drinks not less than two and up to five cups of coffee per day.
  • Needs coffee to keep up concentration and flow.
  • Often does not have a favorite coffee recipe, but drinks all kinds of coffee varieties.
  • Stares at her smart phone or leaves the room during the brewing process of the coffee machine.
  • Would prefer to control CoffeeBoy with her smart phone, tablet or notebook.
  • Her husband is mostly technically unversed and unenthused regarding IT stuff.

Personas

The user segmentation according to demographic and psychographic criteria revealed an interesting group. Namely women who work in the IT sector, are between 39 and 50 years old, are married with non-IT professionals, nutrition conscious, and so on. This group got further explored in the user research activity.

Now it’s time to distill personas from the gathered information. Thereby we’ll create one persona called Amy who will act as the representative of the IT Gals group, and an other persona named Bob who will characterize Amy’s husband. The reason why we’ll also consider the husband within the persona creation is simple: Bob lives together with Amy under a single roof. Therefore he should also be able to use CoffeeBoy and not permanently annoy his wife to make coffee for him just because he’s not able to do this by himself 😉

So let’s form our two personas in the next two sections.

Amy

Persona Amy

Persona Type: Primary
Name: Amy Schneider
Age: 39
Profession: Software Engineer
Family Status: Married with Bob
Children: Leo and Liv
Slogan: IT makes our life better.

Description: Amy embraces technological progress. She early adopts IT products, even though she does not have any need for them in the first place. For her work-life-balance means developing own apps. Amy is a coffee junky. From time to time she tries out new coffee recipes.

Desires and goals:

  • Make her home smart.
  • IT products should not compromise quality and provide as much flexibility as possible.
  • Brewing coffee should be a pleasure.
  • Someday see her husband excited by things produced by the IT.
  • Being self-employed would be the greatest fulfillment in her life.

Bob

Persona Bob

Persona Type: Secondary
Name: Bob Schneider
Age: 42
Profession: Landscape Architect
Family Status: Married with Amy
Children: Leo and Liv
Slogan: With analogue tools I’m still more efficient.

Description: Bob is a person digital natives would characterize with the term oldschool. In his job and at home Bob refuses utilization of IT products as much as possible. Regarding coffee he is unpretentious: at least the coffee should be strong. That’s it.

Desires and goals:

  • Being healthy and balanced.
  • Owning a smart phone should not be a precondition to accomplish daily tasks.
  • Making coffee should be as simple as pressing a button.

Primary vs. secondary persona

We’ve classified our personas into primary and secondary ones. What’s the difference between them?

A primary persona is the one we primarily have in focus when designing our product. So all design decisions get first and foremost made in favor of this power user. Amy as such a primary persona will certainly be the responsible person for the buying decision of our product. Exciting her is our ultimate goal.

The secondary persona, on the other side, typically uses a small subset of the product’s features. We may still address this persona’s needs, and even design and develop dedicated features. However, we should make dedicated secondary persona design decisions only if they don’t get in the way of the primary persona.

Up next

In the next post we’ll get back to our users respectively personas and derive strategic decisions from what we now know about them. After that we’ll leave the strategy plane by formulating a problem and a vision statement for our product. Both statements will ultimately summarize the big WHY, WHAT and HOW of our product’s strategy. Stay tuned!

Footnotes

  1. In the context of this post we’ll use the term users to mean people who will potentially use our (not yet existing) product in the future.
  2. Application Programming Interfaces