How to run personas workshops

Run a workshop that produces ‘quick-and-dirty’ preliminary personas

This section summarizes our workshops for creating user personas with city staff.

Check out our slide deck that we use at these workshops

Step 1: Brainstorm

  • Individually think of specific current or potential open data users. Try to represent most of the people you talk to.
  • Individually think of each person’s characteristics, i.e. relation to tools behavior, community connections, knowledge, motivation, barriers, ability. The individuals shouldn’t be recognizable in the characteristics.
  • In a small group, discuss which characteristics are most pertinent to your department’s current objectives or projects.

Step 2: Synthesis

See our tips on affinity mapping.

Step 3: Review existing personas

Review personas that other cities and organizations created. You can browse our library of research-based and preliminary personas created in different contexts to inform your personas. Remember to credit sources.

Step 4: Generate personas

Assemble the characteristics into one persona. Present biographical information as well as how this person uses data, what their abilities are, and what their larger goals are. Drawing or finding a picture provides an extra nudge to consider the human characteristics of the persona.