Workshop outputs: personas

One of the more fun exercises in the workshop was to develop personas for the types of people who may want to use a software ontology.  These help determine the kinds of questions that may want to be asked of the ontology, and thus inform its design.  Here are the personas (any resemblance to anyone you may know is purely coincidental!):

Brenda the bioinformatician

  • age: 29 3/4  (and pregnant)
  • background: highly skilled biologist, not much CS.  Microarray data collection and trying to find different genes corresponding to disease of interest  (autism).
  • dress code: tweed
  • favourite food: pescatarian, and says she likes salad but actually likes cake
  • work: Northern Russell Group university.  Works one day a month at a local cat and dog shelter
  • story: has no knowledge of R, but knows some Perl, and:
    • Wants software that can use with raw data for analysis.
    • Wants Web-based tool with good examples of how to use.
    • Wants good, reliable, results.

Percy the Professor

  • age: 62
  • work: senior academic,good funding record, track record in innovative technology for analysing mathematical data
  • dress code: eccentric
  • hobbies: collecting 1930s cigarette cards from Albania
  • favourite food: fig rolls
  • knowledge: Vast existing knowledge of area, but lacks on current activities
  • story: has a new idea and:
    • Wants to find the state of the art and identify gap (strategic thinker).
    • What software does this task?
    • What algorithms do this?
    • Are they active projects?
    • Who developed/published them?
    • Wants to do it quickly and easily.

Fergus the funder

  • age: 45
  • works: EPSRC: ex academic – post doc – 3 good papers then quit for the secure work environment and chances to meet PhD students at meetings and not do research.
  • job: Manages a committee, reviews grants, sets strategy for software theme at EPSRC, attends project meetings
  • hobbies: younger women, skiing, eating out on expenses, going to the gym
  • what data: compiled grant reviews, publications, grant documents, end of grant reports, costings, user documents.
  • software: JeS, Word, email, powerpoint, excel (for costings), stuff he sees demoed at conferences
  • story: wants to find out:
    • What are the new technologies for which policy needs to be set?
    • How many users does a funded software have?
    • What software already exists in this space (why should I fund more)?
    • What does this software do and why?
    • Are there any data in the public domain created by this software?
    • Is the GUI targeted at JISC users?

Archie the software architect

  • age: 38
  • occupation: software architect at/in university research group
  • hobbies: skydiving, archaeology, surfing
  • skills: wide variety of software, technical and integration skills, research paper writing, requirements engineering.
  • data used: data supported with ‘active’ open standards, documentation (specs, software), research papers
  • technology/software used: eclipse/netbeans, Web services, Condor, PBS, MPI, crystallography prediction software, Web servers, variety of programming languages, DJango, Ruby on Rails, LaTeX, SVN, CVS.
  • story: developing/integrating a complex system from existing resources and software to parallelise computational chemistry application – needs to select software for this task that will operate in a long-lived system (e.g., 5 years)

Rufus the digital preservation manager

  • age: 39
  • occupation: digital preservation manager at large university library
  • hobbies: collects spores, moulds and fungus; to compose and record music
  • data used: taxonomic data of spores, moulds and fungi; multi-track sound data; lecture notes; research data (from the university researchers); scientific publications.
  • software use: All OS families, all file systems, various peripheral software, various application software; for hobbies: Apple Garage Band, MS Excel
  • skills: highly skilled – a dream worker
  • story: his main goal is to keep all digital assets usable for a long time.  He needs to translate (normalise) existing digital assets according to preservation policies/standards; watch what and when a risk of a loss of the usability may occur; to mitigate risks; QA; ensure representation information is deposited

Adrian the PhD student

  • age: 20
  • job: computational biologist in a university biochemistry department interested in novel sequence alignment algorithms
  • skills: C programmer (novice skills: text editors, compilers, programming, etc.)
  • story: wants to know:
    • What’s been done in sequence alignment, protein sequence alignment, multiple protein sequence alignment, etc.
    • What tools are available (especially open source stuff)?
    • What’s most commonly used?
    • Recent developments.
    • Are there publications describing the methods?
    • Making sense of the available tools – grouping by method.
    • Eventually… where to get and how to install software.

Bender the robot

  • age: 249.5
  • where: The Matrix 2
  • occupation: software historian
  • hobbies: bending pipes, oil drinking
  • data: archaeological / antiques data: logs of Web 13; stats; …
  • software used: M2Excel; M2OWL; M2OntologyExplorer
  • skills: deep analytics, 7D holographic visualisation
  • story: trying to piece together the chain of events that caused the Global Meltdown, by analysing archaeological data.  Needs to make sense of these data

Ollie the operations support guy

  • age: 35
  • Occupation: operations support at a university support centre.  Takes support calls from university staff and students regarding software that is considered “officially supported” by the university, such as Windows, Office, Outlook, etc.  Logs the call and provides first tier support; transfers the call to the vendor if necessary; conducts inventory tasks every 6 months.
  • hobbies: plays virtual reality games
  • data used: data provided by callers, meta data that comes part of the installation, user manuals, access to computer systems (usernames, IDs, departmental codes), log files
  • software used: Outlook (email), ticket tracking (for call recording), Excel (for inventory), Web browser
  • skills: good problem solving skills; good record keeping skills; degree in software engineering from Guatemala; basic Java programming
  • story: Ollie is doing his mid-year inventory and has been asked to look at the software used by the research group funded by EPSRC.  He needs to record:
    • versions
    • licence agreements
    • number of installations
    • frequency of usage (1 = every day, 5 = rarely used)
    • date of acquisition
    • OS on which it is run
    • type of installation

About Andy Brown

Researcher on the JISC-funded SWORD (Software Ontology for Resource Description) project, at the University of Manchester.
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