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Re: User Profiles

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 03:06:27PM -0500, Máirín Duffy wrote:
> On Tue, 2009-11-10 at 15:40 -0800, John Poelstra wrote:
> > I'm starting this thread (with Paul's help) and looking for help and a 
> > more concrete methodology for building user profiles.  Creating user 
> > profiles is part of the project the board is helping to lead around who 
> > Fedora's target audience is.  Normally an organization would commission 
> > a market study to help identify it's target audience.  These studies 
> > require expertise, time, and money... all of which are in short supply 
> > to us now.  With that in mind we are attempting to reach the same place, 
> > but with a less scientific approach.
> > 
> > I took information from the the 2009-10-29 board meeting to start a wiki 
> > page: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User_Profiles
> > 
> > This page obviously needs a lot more work and I'm wondering if we could 
> > get some help from the desktop and design team to know how to be best 
> > represent these profiles and build them out.
> I think when you talk about defining a target audience and user profiles
> for a product, they need to be closely tied to the goals for the
> product. The goal of Fedora as defined by our mission statement [1] is:
>  "To lead the advancement of free and open source software and content
> as a collaborative community.
>    " *  The Fedora Project always strives to lead, not follow.
>     "* The Fedora Project consistently seeks to create, improve, and
> spread free/libre code and content.
>     "* The Fedora Project succeeds through shared action on the part of
> many people throughout our community."
> If the chosen target audience and user profiles don't reflect that goal,
> then they won't help further it.

Right.  And we need help describing these personas correctly, so I
appreciate the time you put into these posts.  Thanks for helping us
keep the ball rolling!

I'm going to bounce back some ideas below.  As you read them, can you
tell me what would be the best way to capture them in discreet bits
that help with this profiling task?  I don't know whether that means
just bulletizing in notes on the wiki and figuring it out later, or
stating them in some separate, well-understood way that's specific to
user profiling.

> Paul announced the Board's current working definition of Fedora's target
> audience in his 26 Oct 'Target audience' mail to this list [2]. I think
> this definition does a fine job of linking back to the goal of the
> project. That target audience definition with my inline comments on its
> relevancy to our goal is as follows:
>  (1) Someone who is voluntarily switching to Linux
> Our strategy is not to force anyone to use Fedora. It's not going to
> come pre-installed on your computer. Maybe a better way of stating this
> point though is, "Someone who voluntarily wants to try another way of
> running their computer." It doesn't necessarily have to be Linux. The
> main point here should be, the target audience needs to be open to a
> change in how they use their computer. We are trying to lead the
> advancement of free software, and the folks most likely to switch to
> free software (advancing it through greater ubiquity) are those who are
> not afraid to undergo some change. (Let's make the change as painless as
> possible though!) 

So you're saying this person (we should come up with a name!) is
interested in "another way" generally, and not FOSS or Linux in
particular.  That sounds sensible to me, because it is possible for
people to contribute who don't *yet* understand how FOSS works.  We do
want someone who is open-minded about it, because if she's not, she
likely wouldn't spontaneously change.  (And maybe wouldn't be
interested in this other way in any case.)

But yet, we're not looking to exclusively target tinkerers, "looking"
to change their computers for arbitrary reasons.  Would it make sense
to describe *why* she wants to change?

>  (2) Someone who is familiar with computers, but is not necessarily a
> hacker or developer
> You have to have at least a vague notion of what an operating system is
> to understand what Fedora is. You shouldn't, however, have to be a
> hacker to be able to spread Fedora and free software (our goal). We want
> to spread free and open source software, and we won't spread it as far
> and wide as possible if we limit ourselves to catering to hackers and
> developers only. That is a very limiting audience when the goal is to
> 'spread free/libre code and content.' The body of folks interested in
> technology is substantially larger than our current sphere of influence.
> I interpret point #2 to mean that if you're familiar enough with
> computers to comfortably place an order with Amazon.com, you should be
> in our sights. 

Here's what I was thinking about this point, and this may not be at
odds at all.  (I like your interpretation too.)  This person by
definition has to be someone who's comfortable with sticking a DVD
into their system, and potentially writing over part or all of their
hard disk.  They'd need to understand the potential impact of an
installation.  I'm not saying that it's then OK to go nuts and
surprise them, just that the person needs to be comfortable with the
idea that they are going to perform an action on their computer, as
part of installation, that many people don't do.  (Well, more of them
do it these days than should have to, but that's another story.)

For example, Trent Reznor doesn't want to hack on his computer, he
wants to make music.  But he's certainly interested in spreading
free/libre code and content, even if it's in service of just shaking
up the norm.  OK, maybe you don't buy that example because Trent's
looking for music-making capabilities we can't yet provide.  My point
being someone like this is certainly not a developer but the ideas we
put into practice in Fedora should sound appealing enough for Trent to
say, "My music tracks are all backed up on that other disk over there,
so they're safe, and if I hate this new thing, I'll just restore this
system anyway."

And yes, I understand that Live USB might invalidate part of this
characteristic I'm describing.  Is it possible to capture the
characteristics for a persona using Live USB at the same time as we
capture those for this other persona?  Can they be the same?  Do they
need to be the same?

>  (3) Someone who is likely to collaborate in some fashion when
> something's wrong with Fedora.
> This collaboration can be as simple as filing a bug report using abrt or
> posting a comment on a Fedora-related blog or news article. We want to
> advance free software as a collaborative community, so focusing on folks
> who are willing to collaborate, even just a little bit, to give back, is
> important to advance that goal. This is not to say we shouldn't work on
> tools such as abrt to make it easier for them to collaborate with us.
> Just that they need to be receptive to engaging with us. I think this
> statement could be further refined - you can collaborate when there
> isn't anything wrong with Fedora as well, by blogging about Fedora or
> talking about Fedora at a local LUG meeting or technology fair.

Good point indeed.  In all the cases of Fedora you list above, I see
that communication is the common point.  What about something like
this, that's less charged?

(3) Someone who is willing and able to communicate about their
experiences with Fedora.

...which captures the same idea, but is broad enough to capture a
broad spectrum of activity, from bug reporting to Ambassadorial work.

>  (4) Someone who wants to use Fedora for general productivity, either
> using desktop applications or a Web browser.
> I think the web browser point is key here. To collaborate on content in
> the community, a browser is a must, and a good web browsing experience
> is key to easing the anxiety of migrating platforms - if I can get my
> webmail in Fedora just as (if not more) easily as I could in Windows or
> on OS X,  I haven't had to give it up to migrate so there's less pain in
> the migration. I do think this is the weakest of the four target
> audience statements, though, because 'general productivity' is a bit
> nebulous/vague. But we can certainly flesh it out further, defining it
> more finely and prioritizing the finer points with user studies.

That's a very fair critique, and thanks for offering a way to refine
this point.

> I think to properly identify user profiles (and I think by user profiles
> we mean personas [3] ), we need to study folks who match the 4 target
> audience attributes above. I think the user profiles wiki page that John
> started [4] is a good first cut at further refining 'general
> productivity' in point 4 above. Rather than simply brainstorming what
> 'general productivity' means though, I think we should additionally
> distill what kinds of tasks it means by observing folks who fit the  4
> points above.
> Since this message is already really long, I'm going to cut this here.
> Next I am going to make a post about our options on moving forward with
> a user research plan.

I'm off to read that one next! :-)

Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
  http://redhat.com/   -  -  -  -   http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
  irc.freenode.net: stickster @ #fedora-docs, #fedora-devel, #fredlug

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