Users, Customers & Benefactors


Design Notebooks

Let’s go around the room and review a number of your Design Notebook entries from last week.


How do you keep track of the companies where you’re interested in working? How about keeping track of games or apps similar to what you’d like to build? In short, how do you keep track of the state of the art in your industry sector?

One effective way is to use a dashboard solution.

Users, Customers & Benefactors

Target Audiences

Who are you creating your final project for? Who will use it? Who do you want to see it? Who would you like to pay you for it? These are your target audiences.

You may have several different target audiences. For example, if you’re creating a game, game players are certainly a target audience – and depending on your specific game content, those game players may be young, old, male, female, etc.

It’s important that you think specifically about for whom you’re creating your project. This allows you to more clearly focus your efforts on building something useful for a specific group of people.

Users are not the only target audience you might have, however. Even though you might be building a game for a specific set of game players, your goal may also to demonstrate your game development skills to a game company.

Which game company? Who at that game company do you want to see your work? What aspect of your work do you specifically want them to see? Your characters? Your game play? Your programming or animation skills? Who is responsible for those aspects of game development at the game company or companies where you’re interested in working.


Make a list of all the people you want to see your final project. Try to organize them into categories (users, customers, employers, friends, family, etc). We’ll call these categories “customer segments”.

User Personas

User personas are written descriptions of specific people who you’d like to use and/or see your project. The goal of a user persona is to get you to empathize with the people who will be seeing your work, so that you have a better chance of creating something of value to them.


Create a new Google Document and name it “User Personas”. For each customer segment you identified above, try writing out a profile of a specific person. Give them a name. Give them a profile picture. Write a short biography of that person, being as specific as possible; Where are they from? How old are they? Where do they work? Where did/do they go to school? Try to imaging as much about them as you possibly can.

User Stories

User stories are a narrative form of describing a specific action a customer segment wants to take using your project.

User Stories have a very specific structure:

“As a X, I want to be able to Y, so that I may Z.”

Where “X” is the user type (e.g. new user, customer, employer, friend, family member, etc), “Y” is the specific action they want to take, and “Z” is the reason for the action.

Here’s an example:

“As an animation employer, I want to see your range of animation techniques using the animation tools my company uses, so I can evaluate whether or not I should interview you.”


  • Create a new Google spreadsheet and title it “User Stories”.
  • For each User Persona created above, create three user stories



  • Read Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth
  • Create a new slide in your Design Notebook and title it “Innovation Context”
  • Review your Innovator Design Notebook entry from the first week of class
  • In what context did your chosen innovators work that allowed them to contribute their work? Write a brief paragraph or two describing this context.

Create Your Dashboard

  • Create a dashboard using Netvibes or other dashboard aggregator (e.g. Facebook Interests or Flipboard)
  • Begin tracking the blogs, tweets and Facebook and/or Linkedin status updates from the companies where you’d like to work, the people behind projects similar to yours, and other companies, people or government entities involved in the innovation context of your project

Update Your Canvas

  • Using the the list of people who you’d like to see your thesis project, update your Lean Canvas by listing the categories of these people in the “Customer Segments” block.
  • Which categories are the most important? Which are most likely to give you good, honest feedback you can use to refine your project?
  • List those categories under “Early Adopters”.

User Personas & User Stories

  • Continue working on your User Personas, make sure you create at least one user persona per category of people (customer segment) you’d like to see your final project
  • Continue working on your User Stories, make sure you have at least 3 user stories per customer segment
  • Create a new slide in your Design Notebooks and title it “User Personas and User Stories”
  • Put in links to your User Personas Google document and your User Stories spreadsheet

Submitting Your Work

This week’s homework assignment is due before class next week. When you’ve completed it, post a comment on this page, including a link to your Design Notebook and Project Canvas. Come to class next week prepared to present your work.

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