A persona is a typical user profile, based on a series of interviews with actual users. Personas help designers and others within your organization understand for whom they are designing the dynamic content. When designers satisfy the persona’s goals, they also meet the needs of users with similar goals. It is easier to design when you have real people with real goals in mind. The persona makes the design exercise real and applicable rather than abstract.

Ann Rockley Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy, p.209, New Riders Publishing, 2003.

The TCBOK development committee created personas that should represent the majority of users who might be accessing TCBOK. The technical communication community is so diverse that there is no way we can create enough personas to exactly represent everyone—that would take an infinite number of personas!

Instead, these personas are intended to represent a cross-section of the community. For example, one persona represents actively working technical writers wanting to keep skills current. That persona alone might represent a majority of people visiting the site.

Another point to keep in mind is that personas include very specific examples of how a person might use TCBOK. For example, the person in the “actively working technical writer wanting to keep his skills current” persona comes to the site to learn more about DITA.

We invite you to explore the personas and to create additional personas if you discover that the existing set does not include an important niche audience. Each story includes specific examples of how the person might use TCBOK.  For example, the persona for working technical writers may use TCBOK to learn more about DITA.

The Personas

Click a persona to find out about that persona and how they might use TCBOK. Follow their information search, with links to pages they would read.

  • Alicia Madison: College Dean Learning about Technical Communication and Technical Communication Programs
  • Anu Patel: Academic Program Director Preparing for Institutional Program Review
  • Ashley Konrad: Technical Communication Teacher
  • Caroline Landry: Lead Writer in a Company Moving into International Markets
  • Carrie Watson: Academic Practitioner Designing a Curriculum
  • Consuela Roehl: Technical Communicator Whose Responsibilities are Being Outsourced
  • Eric Hernandez: High School Student Planning Technical Communication Career
  • James Ventura: IT Project Manager Wanting Effective Communication Practices for Team
  • Jennifer Bennett: Technical Communication Student
  • Jimmy Chin: College Student Planning Technical Communication Career
  • Kate Watkins: Information Development Manager Creating a Technical Communication Department for the Company
  • Linda Etesh: IT Practitioner Wanting to Change to a Technical Writer Career
  • Maarten van Gelten: Translation Manager Who Wants Less English Text
  • Marcia Houston: Practitioner Wanting to Do More Web and Usability Work
  • Margy Statler: Technical Communicator with Accessibility Needs
  • Randy Green: Technical Writer Wanting to Stay Current
  • Rick Sanchez: Technical Communication Student
  • Robert Haines: Engineering Supervisor Wanting Information About Mentoring and Technical Communication
  • Stephen Bakke: Technical Communication Professor
  • Sudha Gupta: Human Resources Manager Needing to Hire Technical Communicators

The Persona Matrix: Comparing Information Needs

A graduate level class of the Mercer University MSTCO program under the direction of Dr. Marjorie Davis created a matrix of the personas created by the TCBOK Committee and personas created by the class. In this matrix, the needs of the various users of TCBOK are identified using a card-sorting approach and result in links between the needs of the user and the information available on TCBOK.