Influencers or Satellites – the persona is never alone

Personas are never alone in the world. They are surrounded by people who influence their decisions and jobs. I call these influencers for “satellites” as they float around the persona – it can be a parent who buys a mobile phone for a child, a teacher who decides to use an IT system in class, or a system manager who is responsible for a system is installed. The satellites should be described and play a role in the scenarios. The descriptions should not be as thorough as the personas descriptions and the satellites do not necessarily have a name, but they are important because of the function they possess – often as either helper or antagonist. 

In the redesign of Virk.dk, a website where companies report digitally to governmental bodies, we found a number of people who influenced the work of the ones doing the actual reporting, especially when it came to acquisition of a digital signature. We identified three satellites: the boss, the IT systems manager, and the person receiving the digital report. The three satellites where described in a brief form that lacked personal details, they had a name and a photo. The three satellites had very different influence on the four personas identified in the project.

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