Designer Personas

User research and needs assessment in complementary but untapped markets.
Both in the visual look of should be visual and experiential. Mapbox CEO tasked me with expanding both awareness and success of designers working within the Mapbox platform. For eight months, our scrappy team of one designer (me), one researcher, and one technical writers conducted a user study that resulted in 5 user personas, two cross-team workshops, and a blueprint for a shared vocabulary approach to persona and user advocacy across the company.

My role in this project was owner and lead strategist checking in with executive and c-level stakeholders along the process. Throughout the project, pulling internal resources from user research, documentation, marketing, and solutions engineering. As well as employing an external team of three engineers and leading the strategic partnership with integration partner, Framer.

My responsibilities included leading the research efforts; including defining the research plan, facilitating interviews, synthesizing interview data gathered, uncovering key insights and opportunities, creating research deliverables, and workshopping findings across product teams. My role was also as owner and advocate for design research and process adoption pitching project across team leaders, executives, and c-suite stakeholders.

We conducted in-person interviews with 19 teams across 3 target cities for our qualitative research studies. During the research, we focused our understanding across several levers to obtain a high-level understanding of our target personas and their needs:

Organizational structure. This classification can greatly influence everything that follows below—collaboration style, product and vision, resources and usage.

Collaboration style. This lever is a product of past team collaboration experience and their organization's level of role delineation. This style trickles down into how teams use and learn Mapbox tools together, support each other with back and forth handoffs, or if each individual separately learns their designated portion and/or tests Mapbox with side projects and via our docs, blog posts, stack overflow, etc.

Product approach. This lever represents the approach teams have to building the technical or visual experiences of the product. From both sides, tech and visual, teams either build from an exploratory angle or in a more defined, rigid system. Limitations on team size, skill level, and technical debt of the built system seemed to play a part in the product experience across these teams.

User experience. This lever speaks to how much of a driver end users' brand experience is to the teams building of the product. This may relate to higher level, underlying business goal.

Resources. This was mostly examining the budget and time available for mapping projects. This affects the threshold to which designers are willing to explore the capabilities of Mapbox tools and how Mapbox fits the scope of their project.

From these levers, I used professional user experience methods learned from NN/g conference courses to chunk and make the persona sections.

I led two crossteam workshops to introduce the Designer Personas in Washington DC office and the San Francisco office. The goal of the DC session was to align these interdisciplinary user tasks, goals, and expectations. We wanted to enable a broader customer-centric conversation, facilitating collaboration and alignment across teams, while ultimately uncovering gaps that we don’t see working in silos. 

The SF Designer Persona Workshop addressed the following questions: How we can get the most value of understanding our users across teams? How can shared Common Personas be used to drive a customer first approach to building, talking, and selling Mapbox?

The portfolio of Amy Lee Walton.