Influencers or Satellites – the persona is never alone

Articleed by & filed under Personas (UK).

Personas are never alone in the world. They are surrounded by people who influence their decisions and jobs. I call these influencers for “satellites” as they float around the persona – it can be a parent who buys a mobile phone for a child, a teacher who decides to use an IT system in class, or a system manager who is responsible for a system is installed. The satellites should be described and play a role in the scenarios. The descriptions should not be as thorough as the personas descriptions and the satellites do not necessarily have a name, but they are important because of the function they possess – often as either helper or antagonist. 

In the redesign of, a website where companies report digitally to governmental bodies, we found a number of people who influenced the work of the ones doing the actual reporting, especially when it came to acquisition of a digital signature. We identified three satellites: the boss, the IT systems manager, and the person receiving the digital report. The three satellites where described in a brief form that lacked personal details, they had a name and a photo. The three satellites had very different influence on the four personas identified in the project.

2 Responses to “Influencers or Satellites – the persona is never alone”

  1. Rasmus Kolding

    Hi Lene,

    So the actual persona is the one who is of primary interest to the stakeholders: The user, client, consumer, etc? Could you have scenarios where personas turn satelites and vice versa? Because then it brings up interesting question whether and how you can use personas generated for other purposes in your own work…


  2. Lene Nielsen

    You can have scenarios where personas interact with other personas, but the idea behind satelites is that they are not directly involved in, but can influence, a process.
    I am currently working on a innovation project for a company producing male underwear and it will, from the data, be interesting to see whether women are personas or satelites when it comes to choosing male underwear.

    I do think it is important to point out that I do not share the idea behind primary and secondary personas. In all the projects I have participated in, there have been several personas of equal importance.

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