This is an entry for one of the class SI 622: Needs Assessment and Usability Testing, our client for the project is JSTOR and we are analyzing their Register & Read Product. The following are the personas we ended up making for the class after our interviews with different types customers which we identified for the "Register & Read" functionality of JSTOR.

Persona number one Persona number two Persona number three

Executive Summary

Our report summarizes the key insights discovered through our research of JSTOR’s Register & Read product. JSTOR is a leading digital library that offers access to academic journals, books, and primary sources. The Register & Read program is part of their initiative to increase public access to research materials. The program has not reached the level of success expected, so they are interested in evaluating the onboarding process and reading experience to discover opportunities to improve the user experience.

The target users are independent researchers who are currently not affiliated with a university. In total, we conducted five interviews; one with a retired professor, and four with professionals with a PhD or Master’s degrees. Target users were recruited through social media and screened based on their experience with scholarly research, current access to digital libraries, and interest in academia. Throughout the interviews, we focused on discovering details about the users’ needs, values, attitudes, and behaviors towards and during scholarly research. Each interview was conducted via Skype and lasted one hour.

After analyzing our interviews, we were able to discover several key insights:

  • a lack of awareness for JSTOR’s Register & Read program
  • heavy use of Google Scholar during search
  • strong preference for printing and reading articles offline
  • reading and searching were typically conducted in different sessions
  • misconceptions of JSTOR’s payment options
  • assumption that JSTOR only offered value late in the research process

Based on these findings, we have four key recommendations:

  • Increase awareness of Register & Read
  • Mimic offline reading experience (enable downloading and printing if possible)
  • Streamline the onboarding process
  • Prioritize search functionality
  • Persona Rationale

    For our persona, we have included information about the background, demographics, behavior, goals, traits, frustrations, reading habits, technical affinities, points of entry. These factors allow us to better understand who is our user, their interest in scholarly articles, and their actual behavior.

    Now, discussing in detail about few of the fields we have selected.

    • Background: This field allows us to better categorize the people based on their past experience and the type of activities and domains they generally belong to, for instance our second persona is an independent researcher, which is easily identified in her background.
    • Behavior: The Behaviour is another important trait because it helps us break down the steps that people go through when doing the searching for the article. These actions help us understand the flow of information that a certain type of user conducts and the context of the tools they use.
    • Traits: The traits are important because they allow our client to emote with the users and understand the affective desires that drive their behavior. Additionally, it aids with design and branding, as it allows us to better understand the user’s personality.
    • Point of Entry: This is important because it provides us with competitors and other similar brands that a user will first use before he decides to go with JSTOR and start his research process. The ability to divide the competitors based on personas explains us their motivation as well.
    • Demographic factors: The demographic information includes the age, gender, location, family status and education. These factors represent basic information that is easily captured by surveys, thereby allowing JSTOR to easily identify the specific profile based on marketing efforts. Combined with the personality traits, it gives an accurate reflection of the user that is similar to marketing profiles.
    • Goals/Frustrations: These are important for explaining why our users are actually interested in research, as well as the key problems they are facing.
    • Technical Affinities/Reading habits: For both, we have used scales that represent their preferences for specific channels. This helps understand the context and abilities of our users.

    This project was a team project with Mathias, Bess and Jason Lam.