These are the four use cases that we suspect will be most common on Dreamwidth, based on our experience with LJ and our concept of who we think is going to be using DW. We'll be revisiting these use cases after the first year of public availability, to see whether how people are actually using the site bears any resemblance to how we think people are going to be using the site. We may also come back and add to them, although we'd ideally like to keep it simple (no more than five).
Until that time, though, we'll be using these use cases to design new features and plan updates to the old ones. The ideal change (or new feature) will:
- please at least two out of the four of these use cases
- be neutral for at least one out of the four use cases
- mildly annoy no more than one out of the four use cases (and ideally, none of them)
We've personalized them, just because it's easier that way. (And no, we don't think our users will be entirely female, but since LJ and LJ clone sites tend to skew more female than male, we're using female pronouns.) Most users will display elements of more than one use case at any given time, too; nobody fits entirely into one persona and one alone, which is why new features should be majority-favorable.
(If you'd like to add detail to any of the wants/doesn't want/will be angry/will be happy, feel free!)
Betty tends to use the service as a blogging platform, and avoids or downplays the social networking factor. She is interested most in sharing what she has to say, while she cares less about hearing what others think. For her, the value of the service is that it offers her a platform and a potential built-in audience. She posts frequently -- several times a week, at minimum -- with different types of assets (essays, fiction, photography, etc), but rarely answers her comments, and maintains a small friends list (where she rarely comments to her friends). She doesn't tend to participate in communities, although she might read a few here and there to find inspiration for what she wants to produce. She's learned to use the service's tools that she wants most, but doesn't care about all the bells and whistles; she just wants it to work, without having to learn all the little fiddly options.
Goals: To have an audience. To get people to view her content.
Motivations: Betty gets a sense of reward from being spoken highly of in whatever targeted audience she's speaking to. She wants to be considered an authority in her field. Often, she's looking for social credibility beyond the service (in the greater blogosphere, in her profession, etc).
Needs: Good posting interface, posting options, and asset management (entries, photography, etc). Good integration of content from other sites.
Wants: Simple, easy design with clearly-defined task flows. A simple process of making and managing entries. The ability to organize her content.
Will Get Angry If: We make things too complicated; we concentrate too hard on the social-networking and discovery features to the detriment of the entry/asset management; we make her feel like she doesn't own her content or that her posting ability is threatened/censored in any way.
Will Be Happy If: We provide her powerful tools to post and manage her content; we make it easy for her to tell who's viewing her content and how often; we make it possible for her to notify others (friends, colleagues, search engines) that she's posted content.
Ivy is here for her friends and family, and places a high value on the privacy tools the service offers. She isn't speaking to a larger audience; she's fanatical about knowing precisely who's reading her, and wants absolute granular control over what privacy options she selects. To an outsider (one who isn't on her access lists), she might appear as though she's not participating on the service at all; her journal is locked, she rarely comments or participates outside of her first-order network, and while she might participate in communities, they are often locked communities. She knows the service's privacy options inside and out, but won't use them if they don't answer her desire to be invisible to people she doesn't trust. Even when she's posting publicly, she wants to know where her data's going; she views the service as a gated community and often doesn't feel that "public" is "public to the entire internet". She may have multiple journals for different purposes, to control who can see what.
Goals: To minimize her internet footprint to people she hasn't identified, vetted, and decided she trusts.
Motivations: She likes being social on the service, but only to a small group of people; either she feels easily overwhelmed by the prospect of being social, or she's been burned before by her words/content/participation being used against her.
Needs: Excellent privacy tools with multiple layers of access and control. Easy privacy management features.
Wants: The ability to know who's reading her content, and under what circumstances. Privacy options on all aspects of her data. A sense of security.
Will Get Angry If: We release features with no privacy options; we do something that makes her think we're "giving away" her data to another company, a search engine, etc; we don't clearly explain or show where data's going, who can read it, and how it's being used.
Will Be Happy If: We make her feel like she has total control over her information; we make it easy for her to specify who can read what; she feels she can trust us to respect her privacy choices; we release new features at the most restrictive privacy option and let people choose to be more permissive if they want.
You'd never know Lisa was here; her journal is often empty, except for her reading list, and she's here to consume other people's content. She comments sometimes (if she feels comfortable doing so), but mostly she's the invisible woman: she reads entries and communities, passively, without contributing. If you make it easy for her to interact with others in a low-key, low-pressure situation, she might. Then again, she might not.
Goals: To find interesting content to read in a low-key, no-pressure sort of situation.
Motivations: She's shy, or she doesn't care enough, or she uses the service as a distraction when she has a few minutes here and there and she drifts in and out. She likes having things to read, but she doesn't place a high value on interaction, and often feels uncomfortable if she's placed in a situation where she feels like she's expected to.
Needs: Good content discovery. Good "invisible subscriptions" -- the ability to bookmark/receive notices of updates/etc without the content owner being notified that she's reading.
Wants: Some way to feedback a creator without social pressure; a low-key way of interacting.
Will Get Angry If: We build a feature where she feels like she's being forced to participate; we do something that makes her feel like she's being required to provide content; we make her think she's a second-class user because she doesn't update her journal.
Will Be Happy If: We let her lurk to her heart's content, but still feel like she's not being ignored when she has something to say; we make it easy for her to find things she's interested in reading; we don't aggressively push her to high-commitment things like making entries; we offer a sliding-scale of interaction that will let her participate when she feels like it without feeling like she's being pushed to do more.
Patty eats, sleeps, and breathes social media and the service; she's integrated it into her entire life. She makes frequent posts and comments, participates in a number of communities, and spends hours a day on the service. She knows the service's tools inside and out, and can customize them to her purposes easily. She uses every possible method of interacting with the service (such as mobile devices) to make sure she doesn't miss anything. She generally posts a mix of public & private content, and likes making new friends but also likes being able to restrict her participation to just people she already knows. She often has multiple conversations going on. She is the most likely to maintain ties to multiple subcultures and cross over those subcultures' boundaries easily. She is the most likely to maintain multiple journals for different purposes, or to start and run a community.
Goals: To interact with other people and build & nurture relationships; to remain connected 24/7.
Motivations: She likes the sense of connection she gets from having a large friends list, a broad selection of communities, and a number of conversations going on at once.
Needs: The ability to compartmentalize her use of the service (let people only subscribe to certain tags, etc). The ability to access the site through multiple entry points (email, mobile). Good commenting and interaction functions and features.
Wants: Good community management tools. Easy management of multiple journals. Good discovery of new people/content/communities. The ability to organize and arrange her content so people from multiple subcultures can find that they're looking for most easily.
Will Get Angry If: We do something that makes one of her subcultures feel threatened or marginalized; we release a feature that she feels is "dumbed down"; we make it hard for her to integrate her presence on other sites into her presence here.
Will Be Happy If: We give her as many options as possible in how she interacts with the site and integrates features into her daily use; we make it easy for her to find and organize content; we give her ways to provide feedback on how the service will be run and make sure we respect her input even if we don't always agree with her.