Meet Your User — Personas and Journey Maps Unlock Common Use of W3C Specifications

sarika joglekar and others (other side of the camera) discussing persona and journey mapping

Once we generated enough data from the interviews and identified problems with affinity clustering, it was important to wrap those problems around a personality. Creating a personality is quite helpful, it gives us the opportunity to connect the needs to a face and also motivates us to solve a problem that is much more user-focused. After the persona is created, we follow this hypothetical user through a process of using the digital product. This journey map showcases the user flow and helps us determine what difficulties he/she may be facing. This process allows various problems to surface and it becomes easy to prioritize and solve them.


Before building a persona, it is important to identify the key goals and pain points of the user. This information is essential to determine what approach should be taken to address the recognized issues.


Affinity clustering was an immensely helpful exercise we did to group ideas together and search for patterns based on the the interviews conducted. It was important to further narrow it down and prioritize the problems. To do this, we categorized the users of the specs into two groups based on usage behavior. The first was the web authors who use the specifications to create their own digital products and the other was specification creators, implementers, and testers who work closely to create W3C specifications. We then drew a chart to classify users navigation, search and, reading behavior on the pages.

Another approach was to note how many times a certain keyword was mentioned. For instance, queries similar to “search”, “navigation”,”‘github”,”‘boilerplate”, etc. We called it the“keyword usage sheet. This guided us into making observations about very specific user challenges.

Keyword usage sheet


Once we had enough data and the keyword usage chart, we started narrowing information for the persona. The information that goes on to the persona is crucial. The solution that will be created has to fulfill all the user requirements. We created two personas, one for each group. Each group has a different set of requirements and expectations. We identified those differences and created the personas. The information was split into different identifiable sections:

  1. Background/story — It is a good stepping stone to understand the user
  2. Motivations — The reasons behind using W3C specifications
  3. Goals — Their expected goals
  4. Painpoints — Difficulties they face
  5. Search/reading behavior — How do they search specifications
  6. Our Recommendations — A way to improve the overall experience
Personas of web authors and the group consisting of spec authors, implementers and testers

Journey Mapping

Journey maps are created to understand experience from the user’s perspective. Once the map is created, it is easy to identify the pain points of the user throughout their journey of completing a task.

Identification :

Mapping the user journey by considering what are the user goals and how they access the specifications, what are their search methods, and other reading behaviors, surfaced some some very minute details of their experience. Defining the story also provided a better overview of all the problems and frustrations. We started with simply recategorizing all responses received in interviews into a very linear flow starting from how they search, access, read, and use a specification.


As we proceeded with defining user journeys, we mapped out the different users and broadly categorized their responses under “Search”, “Read/Locate”, and “Use” of the specifications. This then led to a further breakdown into details of their actions performed at each stage, which included their ways of navigation, how they searched for the required section within the document, understanding their difficulties in identifying the versions of specifications, different links, etc. The analysis of the process allowed us to identify specific problems and propose solutions to solve a section within the flow. You can find a detailed journey map below.

Journey map of web authors

We hope to carry forward the findings of this exercise into our design phase, as we begin to wireframe and test.