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Observed users personas

When you are observing users interacting with your app, they take on a different persona

Based on our experience, when you observe users, they take on one of the following personas:

  • The Silent type: This user won’t say anything at all. You’ll have to look closely at what they’re doing. You should probe and ask them about what they’re trying to accomplish. More often than not, they’ll tell you the following step only. These users often require a lot of reading between the lines or asking why repeatedly.

    A conversation might go like this:

    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m going to the projects page”


    “Because I want to see Project ABC”


    “Because I want to see it’s tasks”


    “Because I want to see what tasks are assigned to me.”

  • The Stage Fright: These users suddenly forget and are confused by everything when you are observing them. To counteract that, you must establish rapport and put people at ease before they can give you an accurate picture of how they behave.

  • Tunnel-vision: They might get very focused on a specific detail. It’s often difficult to tell whether it is trivial or critical. For example, they might get fixated on the color of a button or the terminology in an invoice.

We found two ways of dealing with them. Either make the change immediately to get them unstuck. Ask them to move on to something completely unrelated that won’t have the thing they’re focussing on.

For these types of users, make sure that your app is free of superficial mistakes such as spelling.

  • The power user: They might be very capable and be able to do everything they desire. They might not have any negative feedback. But, there will be subtle clues about their interactions. For instance, they might instinctively move their mouse to the right to go to the account menu and then remember that on your platform it’s actually on the left side.

  • The vocal user: Contrary to the silent type, the vocal type produces a lot of feedback. They are often power users. Based on our experience, they have a lot of feedback because they’ve used the platform extensively. They are a gold mine, but sometimes it’s difficult to judge just how impactful each piece of feedback is.

They’re also self-conscious

I’ve also noticed that they seem self-conscious about their tech-savvy and are afraid of being judged.

So, it’s difficult for them to express their opinions very accurately.

A note about asking “Why?”

Often you’d have to ask why several times before you get to the actual reasoning behind a behavior. Users find this very annoying so you must imagine the following 4 steps then ask the fifth one.

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