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Leveraging Research to Unify Content and Drive Human-Centered Design

Case Study

Sound Transit

Persona documents on a computer screen
Persona document
Person working on a wall of persona documents

The Problem

In large organizations that manage multiple communication channels and services, different stakeholders frequently have different ideas about who the customer is and what he or she needs. This leads to assumptions that often aren’t based in reality. In this absence of a prioritized understanding of their users, organizations often assume everyone is a customer or that the customer is just like the members of the organization. This misconception leads to poor and inconsistent customer experiences and can waste organizational resources on building services, features, or content that don't truly meet a user’s need. The result of trying to serve everyone is that you are unable to effectively serve anyone.

Cross-channel personas allow stakeholders, designers, developers, and content creators to gain a shared understanding of their users and their goals, needs, behaviors, and expectations.

The Solution

Cross-channel personas build empathy for users and further the customer focus of the organization. They allow stakeholders, designers, developers, and content creators to gain a shared understanding of their users and their goals, needs, behaviors, and expectations. No matter which channel or service a customer uses to interact with the organization, they are represented by a persona.

Based on qualitative and quantitative user research data, personas represent a product or service’s different user groups. Personas are not real people, but they are based on real data from customers. Personas often incorporate elements of the users’ story that help make each user group distinct.

Persona process diagram showing the five steps: survey, segmentation, audience segments, journal study, personas

To create cross-channel personas, Anthro-Tech starts by leveraging an organization’s available research and customer data. We find gaps in the client’s understanding of current and potential customers, and then we design a research strategy to gather the additional information needed to clearly define the customer segments. We add depth to those segments with qualitative research from real-customer experiences and opinions.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Knowing who to design and develop for allows organizations to streamline their processes to create specifically for their users. They can prioritize features and design based on their users’ needs and top tasks and deprioritize functionality that doesn’t serve their customers. Ensuring a shared understanding of customers across channels helps to break down silos within the organization and streamline service delivery.

Leveraging Past and New Research

We use surveys, customer service call logs, search logs, website analytics, journal studies and other qualitative and quantitative research methods to build personas that accurately reflect an organization’s customers.

Participatory Approach

Involving not only users but also stakeholders and subject-matter experts from across the organization generates buy-in and helps staff empathize with customers and their behaviors, goals and expectations.

HCD Mentorship

Our Persona and Journey-Mapping workshops leave a legacy of human-centered design with our clients. This fundamental change allows organizations to continue considering their users first, long after the project ends. We also advise clients on how to keep their personas up to date, how to use them to drive decisions, and where to present them to maximize organizational buy-in.