Tag Archives: personas

Developing personas for a user focused service

How can personas help to ensure that projects are user focused? Dyfrig Williams reflects on how they’ve been used for his work on acquiring data effectively.

An image of personas for Performance Audit staff

As part of my Cutting Edge Audit work, I’ve been working on a test project to gather data for auditors so that we can work more efficiently.

I’ve blogged before on why I’m really interested in the digital delivery of public services because of the relentless focus on user need. This focus isn’t new to me – my previous work on citizen engagement made it clear to me that properly involving the people who access services at an early stage results in a service that is effective at targeting its resources.

Now that I’m four months in to a six month project you could argue that I’m leaving it a bit late to start on the practical part of the work. But in my public engagement role I heard time and time again that staff that didn’t involve people properly delivered their work according to existing preconceptions about what people wanted or needed. I was determined not to make the same mistake with my work, so I developed personas for the main users of data to ensure that we are focusing on building something that people would actually find useful.

Personas are representations of different types of customers or users. They answer the question “Who are we designing our work for?” They help to align strategy and goals to specific user groups. As we’re testing this work with the Health Performance Audit Team, I developed personas ranging from Performance Support Officers to Audit Managers, as well as complimentary work with members of the Financial Audit Technical Team and a Financial Auditor working on the frontline with health boards.

Where to start?

I was quite excited to start on the personas so that I could see how my public engagement mindset fitted with digital practice. My colleague Louise Foster-Key, who is the Digital Comms Officer at the Wales Audit Office gave me a few pointers from her work on the Wales Audit Office Intranet, and I also looked at wider good practice. There’s a great post on user personas on the Office for National Statistics’ Digital Blog, but I ended up basing my work on the Government Digital Service (GDS)’s Guide to User Stories. I had a punt at using Trello, but as this was a largely solo exercise (and it was only a small project to manage) I didn’t find it to be as useful as I expected. Instead I used Xtensio, a free(ish) tool that Louise recommended to me.

I stuck with the GDS format as the structure of my user stories, which I put together from interviews and emails with staff in key roles:

  1. As a… (Who is the user? A biography of the person accessing data)
  2. I need/want/expect to… (What does the user want to do?)
  3. So that… (Why does the user want to do this?)
  4. It’s done when… (This is the GDS acceptance criteria, which is a list of outcomes that you use as a checklist to confirm that your service has done its job and is meeting that user need)

Has it been useful?

By talking to auditors in depth about each of the roles that I’ve mapped, I’ve got a much better understanding of their work. This will be useful to me far beyond the lifespan of the Cutting Edge Audit project, as I look at how the Good Practice Exchange can work more effectively with audit teams, especially the Health Audit Team, who volunteered to work with us on this piece of work.

The main use of the personas will be to sense check our work and to ensure that the purpose of our test matches what our auditors want and expect. Now that they’ve helped us run through some hypothetical tests, we’ll use their thoughts to avoid scope creep for the first stage of our iteration.

Their thoughts will also be incredibly useful for my section of our final report. It’s been said that “The pen is mightier than the sword”, and in this sense we as the report authors have all the power – it is us who provide the recommendations for future priorities. This work will ensure that my recommendations are grounded in the realities of our staff’s day to day work.

The final personas are now online and have been split into two sections because of the limitations of the free version of Xtensio. The first set of personas are based on the Performance Audit roles, and the second set include personas based on the Financial Audit and Technical Team roles.

These personas now give us a level of expectation for our work. If the test fails, they give us a rigorous criteria to examine our output against, and a clear vision to check our delivery against. On the other side of things, should the work (as we hope) be a success, we have an opportunity to think about whether personas can help us to be more focused and responsive as we ensure that public services really are delivering value for money for the people of Wales.

Datblygu personas ar gyfer gwasanaeth sy’n canolbwyntio ar y defnyddiwr

Sut all personas helpu i sicrhau bod prosiectau yn canolbwyntio ar y defnyddiwr? Isod mae Dyfrig Williams yn adlewyrchu ar sut maen nhw wedi bod yn rhan o’i waith ar fynd i’r afael â data yn effeithiol.

Llun o bersonas staff Archwilio Perfformiad

Rydw i wedi bod yn gweithio ar arbrawf i gasglu data ar gyfer archwilwyr fel y gallwn weithio’n fwy effeithlon fel rhan o fy ngwaith ar brosiect Archwilio Sydd ar Flaen y Gad.

Rydw i wedi blogio o’r blaen ar fy niddordeb mewn darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus digidol achos y ffocws di-baid ar angen y defnyddiwr. Dyw hwn ddim yn safbwynt sy’n newydd i mi – roedd e’n amlwg yn fy nghwaith yn fy swydd flaenorol ar gynnwys dinasyddion i sicrhau bod adnoddau’n cael eu targedu’n effeithiol.

Nawr rwy’n dechrau ar ran ymarferol fy gwaith ar ôl 4 mis o brosiect 6 mis. Ond yn fy hen rôl fe wnes i glywed tro ar ôl tro bod gwasanaethau’n cael eu darparu at hen ragdybiaethau pan nad yw staff yn cael yr amser i ymgysylltu â phobl mewn modd priodol. Doeddwn i ddim eisiau gwneud yr un camgymeriad yn fy ngwaith, felly datblygais personas ar gyfer y prif ddefnyddwyr o ddata mewn timau archwilio er mwyn sicrhau ein bod ni’n canolbwyntio ar adeiladu rhywbeth y byddai pobl yn wir ddefnyddio.

Mae personas yn gynrychioliadau o wahanol fathau o gwsmeriaid neu ddefnyddwyr. Maen nhw’n helpu ni i ateb y cwestiwn o “Pwy ydyn ni’n cynllunio ein gwaith ar gyfer?” Maen nhw’n helpu i alinio strategaeth a nodau i grwpiau o ddefnyddwyr penodol. Gan ein bod ni’n profi’r gwaith yma gyda’r Tîm Archwilio Perfformiad Iechyd, datblygais personas a oedd yn amrywio o Swyddogion Cefnogi Perfformiad i fyny i Reolwyr Archwilio, a hefyd aelod o’r Tîm Technegol Archwilio Ariannol ac Archwilydd Ariannol sy’n gweithio gyda’r byrddau iechyd.

Ble i ddechrau?

Roeddwn i’n edrych mlaen i ddechrau fy ngwaith ar y personas er mwyn gweld sut mae fy meddylfryd ymgysylltu yn ffitio gydag arferion digidol cyfredol. Fe wnaeth fy nghydweithiwr Louise Foster-Key, Swyddog Cyfathrebu Digidol Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, rhoi ychydig o awgrymiadau i mi o’i waith ar fewnrwyd Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, ac fe wnes i hefyd edrych ar arfer da ehangach. Mae yna blogbost da ar personas defnyddwyr ar Flog Digidol y Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol, ond yn y diwedd fe wnes i benderfynu defnyddio Canllaw Gwasanaeth Digidol y Llywodraeth (GDS) ar Storiau Defnyddwyr fel seilwaith i’m gwaith. Ceisiais ddefnyddio Trello, ond gan fy mod i’n gwneud y gwaith yma ar ben fy hun (a dim ond prosiect bach ydyw) doedd e ddim mor ddefnyddiol ag on i’n ddisgwyl. Felly defnyddiais Xtensio, gwefan sy’n cynnig gwasnaeth a wnaeth Louise awgrymu i mi.

Penderfynais aros gyda fformat GDS ar gyfer strwythur y gwaith, a chafodd y personas ei roi at ei gilydd trwy gyfweliadau a negeseuon e-bost gyda staff mewn rolau allweddol:

  1. Fel rhywun sy’n… (Pwy yw’r defnyddiwr? Ychydig o eiriau am y person sy’n ceisio mynd i’r afael a’r data)
  2. Rydw i angen / Rydw i eisiau / Rwy’n disgwyl … (Beth mae’r defnyddiwr eisiau gwneud?)
  3. Fel bod … (Pam mae’r defnyddiwr eisiau gwneud hyn?)
  4. Mae’r gwaith wedi gorffen pan… (dyma feini prawf y GDS, sef rhestr o ganlyniadau sy’n cael ei ddefnyddio fel rhestr wirio i gadarnhau bod y gwasanaeth wedi gwneud ei waith ac mae’n cwrdd ag anghenion y defnyddiwr)

Ydy’r ymarfer wedi bod yn ddefnyddiol?

Mae gen i ddealltwriaeth gwell o waith archwilwyr ar ôl siarad gyda staff sydd yn y rolau a gafodd eu mapio. Bydd hyn yn ddefnyddiol i mi ymhell tu hwnt i brosiect Archwilio Sydd ar Flaen y Gad, yn enwedig wrth i mi edrych ar sut y gall y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da gweithio’n fwy effeithiol gyda thimau archwilio, yn enwedig y Tîm Archwilio Iechyd, a wirfoddolodd i weithio gyda ni ar y darn o waith yma.

Prif ddefnydd y personas fydd i wirio pwrpas ein gwaith ac i sicrhau bod ein arbrawf yn cyfateb i’r hyn mae ein harchwilwyr yn dymuno ac yn disgwyl. Nawr maen nhw wedi ein helpu ni i redeg drwy arbrofion damcaniaethol, byddwn yn defnyddio’r personas i stopio ni rhag crwydro’n bell o’r weledigaeth yma.

Bydd eu meddyliau hefyd yn hynod o ddefnyddiol ar gyfer fy rhan i o’r adroddiad terfynol. Gan mai ni yw awduron yr adroddiad, mae’r holl bŵer yn ein dwylo ni – ni sy’n rhoi’r argymhellion ar gyfer blaenoriaethau’r dyfodol. Bydd y gwaith yma’n sicrhau bod fy argymhellion i wedi’u seilio ar waith dydd i ddydd ein staff.

Mae’r personas terfynol bellach ar-lein ac maen nhw wedi cael eu rhannu’n ddwy ran achos cyfyngiadau’r fersiwn rhad ac am ddim o Xtensio. Mae’r set gyntaf o personas yn seiliedig ar rolau Archwilio Perfformiad, ac mae’r ail set yn cynnwys personas sy’n seiliedig ar rolau’r Tîm Technegol ac Archwilio Ariannol.

Mae’r personas yn rhoi lefel o ddisgwyliad i ni ar gyfer ein gwaith. Os yw’r gwaith yn fethiant, maen nhw’n rhoi meini prawf i ni archwilio ein cynnyrch a ddarpariaeth yn erbyn. Ar ochr arall y geiniog, os mae’r gwaith yn llwyddiant fel ni’n gobeithio, mae gennym gyfle i weld os all personas rhoi ffocws glir i ni mewn agweddau arall o’n gwaith wrth i ni ceisio sicrhau bod gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn wir yn rhoi gwerth am arian cyhoeddus.