Central Ohio Data User Personas & Research Paper

Thoughtwell   (Columbus*)

December 2017

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) does work around data and mapping that is guided by a Regional Data Advisory Committee (RDAC)—a group of MORPC Commission members and other community leaders whose work is integrally linked to regional issues, and enhanced and supported by the development of cooperative strategies around regional data.  The RDAC members have diverse data expertise—they represent different sectors (public, private, nonprofit, and academic) and geographic areas. The RDAC has posed the following question: As data becomes more numerous and complex, more open, and easier (through technology advances) to deliver to more people in more formats, how do organizations with key roles around data deliver tools and resources that are practical, relevant and accessible to the people who need them?  

User personas are characterizations of key audiences or market segments that can be used to refine the development and marketing of a product or service. User personas are one component among a broader set of principles of User Experience (UX) Design. Other public organizations with roles around data are using UX Design tools to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in their work. In late 2017, MORPC undertook a three-part research effort in order to create user personas that represent groups of Central Ohio data users. 

The end result are user personas, found in Appendix E (pages 29-35). Savvy Sonja, Manager Marco, Engaged Elaine, Decisive Delaney, Hopeful Hadiya, Specialist Samir, and Hacking Harper are the seven characters. As representatives of their respective communities of data users, MORPC and our partners around data can use these personas to aid in getting the right data to the right people in the right formats. 


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