Slide - Home | Tufts University School of Medicine Public Health

Digital Strategies for
Health Communication
Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM, Course Director
Tufts University School of Medicine
July 22, 2014
• How can you learn about your target users?
• What are personas and why are they useful for
design and as a team-building activity?
• Examples of personas and scenarios
• Best practices for creating personas
• Create 4 personas using worksheet
Ways to learn about users
Conducting a survey
Using Pew Research and other
survey data
Focus groups
Interviews and participatory
Observation and
ethnographic research
Social media, ratings, and
User feedback through forms,
A/B testing, big data, etc.
Personas defined
• A model of key user attributes and goals
• Distilled from observing real people,
surveys, focus groups, etc.
• Presented as a vivid, narrative description of
a single “person” who represents a segment
and a day in his or her life including one or
more triggers
• Used to guide the design of products,
messaging, and strategy
Personas help you to:
• Developing personas provides an understanding of
your target users and their needs
• Personas help focus empathy on the real people
that they represent
• Personas inspire design for appeal, usability, and
• Personas aid in prioritizing features to meet
personas’ needs
• Personas are a first step in evaluating proposed
solutions by how well personas’ needs will be met
Are these TV Personalities personas?
The Snob: “the most finicky of viewers”
The Know-It-All: an intellectual TV addict
The Escapist: loves the simple, funny shows
On-The-Go Viewer: only watches shows on
• The Minimalist: not a TV fan, but stays in the loop with
Are these Diet Personalities personas?
• The Support Seeker: “turns to friends and pros for
• The Serial Snacker: prefers snacking to meals, eating is
a habit rather than a need
• The Free Spirit: plays by own rules, resistant to rigid
weight loss programs
• The Sweet Tooth: cannot live without sweets
• The Distracted Diner: a busy
multi-tasker, unaware of food intake
Creating personas is a group activity
Our competitor
has blogs.
We’ve got to
push the brand
It would be so
much cooler if it
had videos.
I want the site to
be sky blue with
yellow accents.
It needs to be
Creating personas is an internal activity
Obstacles to persona use –
even more likely when “outsourced”
Personas help to avoid the
two most fatal design flaws
• Design for oneself
– Egocentric intuition fallacy of designers
• Design for everyone
You are not the user . . . Lisa is the user
Persona example
adapted from Claire Berman, MS
Goal: expand reach
• Current users of MGH BHMBI
– General public, patients, providers
• Desired
– Patients with chronic disease or stress who seek
information about complimentary and alternative
medicine (CAM) on their own
– People referred by their medical or insurance
– People whose companies offer wellness programs
Meet Paul
• Demographics
Paul is a 35 year-old Caucasian male living in Newton, MA
He is married with no children
He has a college education
He works as a Financial Planner in Boston and commutes for
an hour each day by public transportation
• Technology
– Paul has an iPhone and a laptop. He is online all the time!
• Health
– Paul thinks his health is good overall
– He has had a few anxiety attacks recently due to job stress
– He has a family history of heart disease
Scenario: Paul
• Paul’s morning
– He wakes up at 5:30, goes for a run, gets ready for
– He eats breakfast with his wife and they leave for
• Commute to work by bus
– He starts to feel anxious as soon as he gets onto the
bus and thinks about work
– He checks email and financial news on his iPhone
Early morning Commute to work
Scenario: Health trigger
• Work
– Paul spends 10 hours at work with short lunch break
• Commute home by bus
– Paul starts to feel overwhelmed with work pressures
– His breathing becomes rapid and he feels like he
can’t get enough air
– It passes after 10 minutes but scares him
– He’s had other anxiety attacks and is scared of
having a heart attack like his father and grandfather
Work……………………………… Commute home
Scenario: Trigger for access
• Paul’s wife, Ellen
– Ellen was home first, poured a glass of chilled white
wine, and read the mail
– Their health insurance provider’s magazine includes
an article about stress, mentioning the MGH
Benson-Henry Mind Body Institute
• Paul gets home
– And tells Ellen about his anxiety attack on the
commute home
– She insists he look at their website
At home
Will this help Paul?
Scenario leads to redesign
• Goes online
– Still dubious, Paul goes to the site and notices a
quiz, Are you stressed, which he tries
– He finds some short instructional videos and plans
to watch them on his phone the next day on his
• Next day
– Paul watches the videos, making sure no one else on
the bus can see, and tries some exercises
– He decides it’s something he can do for a week
because it will make his wife happy and may work
Will this help Paul?
Personas production value varies
Focus on emotion
Define emotional state:
how do you your personas feel?
Best practices in persona development
• Segment your users
• Define characteristics
• Create 4 personas
• Create scenarios with triggers
• Evaluate your personas
• Learn from them
Persona video and worksheet
Persona assignments by demographics
Group A
Andreas Klein
Erica Noonan
Catherine Leamy
Karina Ngaiza
Group B
Lynda Banzi
Amanda Bilski
Jacob Silberstein
Kari Auer
Group D
Emily Klein
Holly Batchelder
Karen McIntosh
Matthew Goodridge
Tammy Ellis
Group C
Monique Hill
Jacob Ehrlich
Larisa Naderiani
Ludan Zhang
Group E
Nicole Schultz
Lisa Shmerling
Charlotte Rowe
Rajiv Krishnaswami

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