Case Study

Evidence-based personas for product differentiation.

The Challenge

Sweepr, a technology startup based in Dublin, Ireland is building a software platform that uses speech technology and artificial intelligence to provide contextually-adaptive self-service for consumers in their home. My role as Senior VP of Customer Experience is to differentiate our product through unique features that create an excellent customer experience.

The Solution

One of my first contributions to Sweepr came in the form of research that I’d already been working on for nearly 15 years: a deep understanding of what motivates people to select self-service over other available forms of support and then return to it again and again. In 2001, when I entered the UX field, I became interested in the aspects of personality and user interface design that would create compelling experiences. My dissertation research showed that risk-taking, the personality variable that plays a role in “risky” behaviors like skydiving, motorcycle riding, and even alcohol consumption, also governed whether people were satisfied with advanced technologies like speech recognition.

My personas, known as Avoidant, Optimistic and Confident, are central to Sweepr’s strategy and value proposition.

Sweepr personas

From this initial finding, I continued to develop my understanding of the key variables that cause people to use self-service. As my UX career progressed from speech technology to include websites, mobile apps and even physical products, I continued to explore the key personality variables. By the time I joined Sweepr in 2019, I had described three clear consumer personas that applied to our self-service products.

To date, I have developed an approach to UX design and writing for self-service content development based on the three end user personas. In addition, I’ve operationalized and quantified methods for our platform to identify a user’s persona during onboarding and incrementally change their persona as they use the product. These innovations have been codified into the platform and are a central plank of Sweepr’s value proposition. Finally, I’ve designed an ongoing research program to understand the specific behavioral and attitudinal issues that differentiate the personas and feed continued product innovation.

To see what I’m up to lately, please see The Quick Sweep.


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