Diversity & Inclusion: User Personas

ColaboraBora's image from the Commons
ColaboraBora’s image from the Commons

In Planet 4, we’re designing with the needs of many in mind. From a content perspective, we have a global audience. People all over the world are affected by the work that Greenpeace does and the campaigns we run. From a technical perspective, we have a global audience. The Planet 4 project will establish an ecosystem of sites using WordPress, meaning that we will have editors, content managers, writers and admins in 40 different countries. Wherever Greenpeace is, a potential user of greenpeace.org is.

We’ve started talking about and thinking about the content of greenpeace.org for this wide audience. In the comment section of the Open Decision Framework, Brian Fitzgerald pointed out an important dynamic,

“…there were times when the needs of the few won out: Large offices who can afford to budget staff time to the process participate more, and have political weight that small offices don’t. This can skew the feature request process — sometimes invisibly, sometimes subtly, sometimes quite loudly — toward the special needs of larger offices.”

In our biweekly Engagement Community call (which you’re welcome to join), we talk regularly about storytelling and interesting things that are happening in the world of storytelling. Brian’s sentiment was echoed in the August 16, 2016 community call when we talked about hazards in storytelling and diversity and inclusion. Tsering said,

“When we think of story, we have to think about who gets to speak and who doesn’t. 30 year old images of Greenpeace are not representative of the new movement.” She went on to say, “We need to do a better job connecting personal stories to global stories.”

In the Discovery Phase of the Planet 4 project, we will be conducting focus groups and doing user interviews. We’ve already begun imagining some user personas when we had a kickoff call on content, but personas should be based on real people.

“Why Use [personas]?: People relate to stories and other people. Personas give us a real human to connect with, someone who has goals for using the product.” – Jess Klein, co-creator of the Open Design Kit, at Bocoup

Based on our initial brainstorm, I already see several distinct persona archetypes shining through. As we were chatting about the people who may use the new site, we determined that 50% were likely looking for self education or educational resources and the other 50% were looking to take some kind of action about something they’ve already heard about.

A (very brief!) further breakdown might be:

  • Educator: Strong on related topics and looking for materials to teach others / find expert opinions.
  • Student: Eager to learn and trying to understand complex topics
  • Evangelist: Strong on broadcasting and looking for good content for their peers, friends and families
  • Activist: Strong on mission and looking to act.

Using discovery techniques and creating archetypes will help us create a greenpeace.org that serves the needs of many. As we begin to think about the structures and plans for this phase, we could use your help. Being intentional about how we set up our user research will help us ensure diverse perspectives. We need to make sure that we make a point to reach out to people across the Greenpeace network. The Planet 4 project aims to be inclusive, so please tell us what YOU think about this work. You can comment here, join a community call, send an email…Lots of ways to connect with us on this wiki page.

Share this project with people across your networks and help us make sure any one who wants one has a voice. You’re always welcome to reach out to me personally if you are uncomfortable sharing your thoughts and ideas in a public space.

Diversity & Inclusion: User Personas

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