“The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference.” – usability.gov
BOSH have a very varied target audience (perhaps wider than realistically viable for a project such as this), and this is reflected in my personas. They are all of varying age, status, ability and all want very different things from the BOSH website.
I have created the following 3 personas based on the previous user research.
34 years old
Married, with two kids
Lives in Brighton
Mark works long hours, and has a hectic family life. He likes to keep fit but struggles having the energy and motivation to exercise after all his other commitments. His goal is to find the time to train for a marathon. His job means he is very tech-savvy.
21 years old
Lives in a flatshare in Brighton
Jane has a very full social life as part of being a student. She works hard, but often has late nights and knows she should take better care of herself. Her and a friend have made an arrangement to start running together, but neither of them has any knowledge of where to begin. She would like to have someone to point her in the right direction. She is also addicted to social networking and has no problems navigating the internet.
Retired civil engineer
66 years old
Lives in Eastbourne
Julian has recently retired, and is looking for activities to fill his time. He has three young grandchildren, which has made him very conscious about his health. He has always enjoyed running, but work commitments didn’t allow him any regular training. Now he has more time, he would like to train for a 10km run. His son suggested using social media to find a training buddy/running club but he is very shy of technology.
Scenarios & Use Cases
Mark Donald wants to train for a marathon, but needs some advice about a training schedule. He uses a search engine to look for articles, and comes across a forum on the BOSH website in which runners are giving tips. He would like to ask a question because they seem very helpful and friendly in the forum, so he signs up as a member and posts his question. Someone responds almost immediately, and he is very impressed. He slowly becomes a more and more active member of BOSH, posting how his training is going and even signs up to events on the website.
Jane Taylor and her friend are complete beginners when it comes to running. They are discussing their plans to go home early from the pub they are in so they will be able to run in the morning, when someone overhears their conversation. The stranger tells them about BOSH and suggests they look into it. The next morning, after their run, Jane and her friend go online and look at the BOSH website. She finds some interesting information about running safety that she finds very useful. Her and her friend decide to sign up and take part in a group running session arranged on the site. She finds it very motivational.
Julian Harrington is very nervous about using the tablet his son bought him for his birthday, but while his wife is at a lunch date with friends, he decides to try and work out how to use it. He checks his emails, like his son taught him, and discovers a link to the BOSH website. It looks like a very good social opportunity, and a great way to spend his free time. He manages to look for events in his area, and sees there is a running meet that afternoon. He signs up to it and has a great afternoon meeting new people and enjoying running with people of a similar fitness.
I created the following User Journey from the first scenario above.
I found this task particularly useful to highlight possible errors in the user experience, and other things that could be improved. I need to make sure the website is created with thought to Search Engine Optimisation, error-checking and notifications to allow the user to stay updated with the forum.
I collected lots of data from my cultural probe, including information about how the user was feeling about the running activity, which is very difficult to collect any other way.
I also got information from the FitBit that I included in the probe. It is interesting to see patterns in the data. Runners tend to be very habitual, and it will really help if I keep this in mind when designing the website.
I also was very lucky to receive some great photos captured by the person completing my cultural probe. They really give an insight into some of the amazing benefits to running, and why he enjoys it.
An expert analysis can be extremely beneficial, in addition to user research. When talking to Scott Goodwin, creator of BOSH Run, he outlined his main competitors as Watford Joggers and Fetch Everyone. I chose to analyse their websites using HCI principles, heuristics, and user-centered design.
You can see an example of their website homepages below, along with BOSH’s current website.
The following table contains some critical comparison points, and a score out of 5 for each element. The questions are all examples of some essential design usability principles.
I used this data to create a series of radar charts, to visualise how well BOSH is doing against it’s competitors. The last chart is a comparison of all three.
It is evident that the current BOSH website needs work, but there are many areas for improvement on the other sites as well. The navigation is adequate but the design (particularly the graphics and overall branding) needs to be refined.
There is a very obvious difference in the amount of content on each site. Watford Joggers and Fetch both have substantially more, but this is mainly because BOSH uses Facebook primarily, and amount of user-generated content on social media is massive.
It will be important to integrate this content with the new website, transforming it into the main hub of activity for BOSH. With the appropriate tools, the members of BOSH and their contributions will allow for the new website to be one of the top running club websites in the area. Therefore, I am confident that the new BOSH website will score substantially higher on this competitor analysis board.
I also conducted a multi-faceted analysis of the information architecture of each site, as follows.
These sketches allowed me to directly compare the page layouts of the three sites.
The following shows some items from my cultural probe, that I created based on the ideas I came up with listed in my last post. I decided to include my FitBit that I had purchased previously, simply because it can collect information that would be very difficult for the person completely the probe to collect themselves. Data such as step count, distance travelled and minutes of activity are collected just by wearing this device, and I’ve included short and simple instructions in the kit.
The rest of the probe focuses on inspiration/motivation for running and the runners feelings associated with running. These particular things are very difficult to find out from surveys alone, and give the cultural probe technique a specific benefit.
When I have collected some data from this, it should aid my user research, and allow me to create a website which is more relevant to current BOSH users and potential members.
This week, we met with the creator of BOSH, Scott Goodwin. It was an extremely useful session, and gave me an opportunity to ask all the questions and gather the information I needed from the client.
As a group exercise, we came up with a lot of buzzwords that related to a typical BOSH user. It includes their main wants and needs, worries and other elements.
From this, I created the following concept map to try and define the typical BOSH run user… which is extremely broad, given the nature of the running club.
I then tried think of some useful items to include in a Cultural Probe, to gain an insiders perspective on running, and people’s individual thoughts and opinions on the subject. The list below includes some possible items for my CP.
The next task was to create a survey to collect information beneficial to the project.
I wanted to find out what would make people join a running club, particularly those that aren’t regular runners already.
After determining what I needed to find out, I put together a simple survey using SurveyMonkey, which can be completed here. The survey (also shown below) is designed to find out how active the person is, what motivates them, and what encourages them to join a running club.
The results will help me better understand my target market. The website design should reflect what the users want, and increase member recruitment and retention.
The client, BOSH (boshrun.com), requires a new website.
The first thing I did was research. Understanding the ethos of the company is vital. BOSH Run is rather unique as a running club, because it allows anyone to join and actively encourages everyone of all shapes and sizes, and all fitness levels, to learn to enjoy running as an exercise. They have one rule: be nice.
This friendly, accessible club needs a website to suit.
As a group, we conducted an informal client interview, which was highly beneficial and a great starting point for the project. The client has a vague idea of functions needed for the new site, but graphic design (bar the logo and main colour) has been left completely to us. The main points I took from the interview were that the client wants something fun and friendly looking, easy to access and navigate, and that condenses all the chunks of BOSH information into one place. Ideally, the client would like a member sign in, to allow for collecting some basic information on users and to control who posts content.
I used the information gathered in this interview, along with some research on their existing website, to produce a client-worksheet (courtesy of Clearleft). There is a lot of useful information in there, but the main points to take from this are:
- It is a social site. It needs to be accessible, easy-to-use and allow for easy communication between ‘members’.
- It will be mainly user-created content. Blog/forum based.
- Aiming not to exclude anyone. It must be inviting.
- Social media integration.
- Improve on their existing E-commerce area.
This is a great starting point to begin the project.