Personas is an established usability practice. Personas should represent the different user types. As such they are an useful tool: They help the designers to step out of their own shoes to figure out users' goals, preferences, limitations and behavior.
A persona description should consist of behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and also a description of environment of use. A realistic description brings the persona to life and opens different views to the designer: For example two different personas might approach the same problem from a different angle and probably they would use different ways of action to achieve the same goal. So the same use cases should be possible to do in different ways, depending on the personas skills, behaviour patterns etc.
One persona should be the primary focus for the design, but when different types of users are taken into account, the program will serve a wider public. We should figure out what kind of people form the most potential user base for Words right now and serve them the best we can; and when we want to widen the target group, we should define personas who fit the new target group. Then we might consider the right things to develop Words even further and to the desired direction.
See a collection of use cases for Words. There is also a table that shows which use cases each persona should be able to do. (Feel free to add more use cases!)
Personas for Words:
Is a recreational user with a sharp focus on web and social media Susan would use Words to write an fancy invitation for a party, and send that around as PDF or ODT or just print it. Susan would also use Words for the occasional letter, writing her resume, contribute to a document she received from an interest group she has joined (maybe online, maybe the local sports club).
On this link you can find open bugs/wishes related to her
Mary is a first year university student studying history. She is familiar with computers as a user of typical office products, e-mail, surfing the web and playing games. She uses mainly Windows, but at home she has a laptop with Linux that her sister has set up for her. Mary is quite comfortable using Linux with a GUI. She is not so interested in computers but rather uses them for studying, communicating with friends and family, and occasionally gaming for recreation.
For an office suite her basic need is to be able to produce the kind of documents that are required for her studies. She uses mostly word processors, but also spreadsheets and presentation programs. She has to be able to easily open the most common file formats and save her documents to those formats, including PDF.
In a word processor she is used to using styles, making her own styles and importing them from an document to another. A typical document she could make would be a multiple-page document with a separate title page, an automated table of contents and page numbering (excluding the title page), as well as an automated bibliography. She might also need the possibility to define parts of the text to be written with another language than the other parts of the document, and to be able to proofread the document.
Mary’s number one preference is the stability of the system, but also speed plays a big role. Mary is very oriented to just get the things done without a fuss. Sometimes she may do things inelegantly as her main focus is to get a result that serves the purpose of her needs. She is a practical person.
John is a technical writer that makes documentation and instruction manuals. He is an advanced user of computers and many kinds of programs. He also does some programming as a hobby. In his usage of programs he is eager to find ways to make his job more efficient, and e.g. he uses shortcut keys when available. For repeating tasks he makes macros. John is comfortable with many platforms. Ideologically he is devoted to FOSS.
Since John knows a lot about word processors / dtp software, he knows pretty well what to look for in those programs. A typical document he might make would be a compilation of multiple-page documents that together form an instruction manual that could be printed out as a book. These documents typically have images, charts and diagrams that John has made. He uses cross-references and text-variables very often, and he needs review and commenting tools that can be used in collaboration with a workmate.
John’s number one preference is efficiency and formability, he wants to be able to automate routines. He thrives for elegant solutions and he understands the value of standards.