From IndieWeb

Onboarding & Personas was a session at IndieWebCamp Nuremberg 2017 in continuation of the similarly themed session at IndieWebCamp Berlin 2016 and session at IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2017.


Day 1: barcamp session

Session: Onboarding & Personas

When: 2017-05-20 14:30



problem: current two channels wiki (documentation) and irc (communication) are hard to access for newbies, in particular those with a less technical background

  • finding information is cumbersome, overload with details

process started in berlin 2016:

  • always a general intro session at the beginning of day1
  • collecting feedback from all new community members at the end of the camp;
  • persona exercise

review of 2016 personas:

  • Tom: supergeek, this is a profile ver
  • eliie/socialmedia junkie: furthest from us at the moment
  • probably not hard to convince, if an alternative can be offered that works with similar ux (would not be needed to be convinced?)
  • milena: closer to current community, but with different motives
  • steven/publicist:
  • reflected use of technology
  • questions of ownership
  • bob/maker:
  • technical skills between tom and milena

plan of action for hackday:

  • finalize the fifth persona
  • document in format that makes it more obvious what is the value proposition of the personas
  • better adjusting communications for marketing outside
  • build internal understanding within the community that the "indieweb movement" (apart from the core) is diversifying

Day 2: persona working group during hack day

session participants


While the model of four Indieweb generations is still valid, it has a strong temporal component: how the community can extend its reach over time. The value of the personas we are developing is that of illustrating certain core personalities that should be considered along with this overall "roadmap".

Placing our personas on the indieweb generation pyramid:

  • Tom obviously sits right on the very top of the "development leaders" pyramid: always connected to IRC, Wiki etc.; this is the demographic the current processes and tools are strongly geared toward
  • Milena and Bob represent an apparent gap at the lower part of gen 1 in the generations model: people who want to technically/conceptually engage in the Indieweb community, but with less commitment/skills/continuity than Tom. This is the target group we identified in the 2016 Berlin camp as being rather well represented among the attendants (same applies to the 2017 Düsseldorf and Nuremberg camps) but struggling with the onboarding, documentation, value proposition and communications being tuned more towards Tom-like characters. Based on feedback on newcomers' onboarding experience - collected over the last few IndieWebCamps - there appears to be a challenge to introduce people who want to be part of the "development leaders" generation, attend IndieWebCamps etc, but for whom the current Wiki-IRC-Communications package is not accessible enough.
  • Steven, as described in the persona, is located at the upper half of gen 2: a publicist, but with strong technical skills that enable him to jump on the train early. This is a relevant persona mostly because it is one of the easy-to-reach gen 2 prospects, but again would likely need more accessible entry points. The Indieweb community has actually already seen a few such tech-savvy journalists promoting/implementing the Indieweb philosophy.
  • Ellie and Penny are clearly at the lower end of the pyramid (bottom gen 3 or gen 4), hence their personas are currently mostly interesting as a long-term perspective, but also to keep our minds calibrated towards the different onboarding/communication needs of upcoming generations in the future.

We also discussed the two-fold value of these personas for the Indieweb, both internally and externally:


  • personas serve as imaginary audiences as we consider our communications to reach these demographics


  • in communicating our value proposition ("why you should be interested")
  • designing entry points and onboarding tools ("how to get started")

Some ideas (brainstorm, with no further discussion) for reaching new target groups better, include e.g.:

  • tutorials
  • videos
  • (stickers)
  • a parallel event format to IWC (targeted to certain audience skill/interest level)
  • simple documentation of core principles outside of the wiki ( Calum Ryan has actually been working on an effort in this direction during the Nuremberg IWC). This project is called IndieWebGuides.


We continued our work on developing indieweb personas, that were half-finished after IWC Berlin 2016. Below table is an updated and extended version of the initial draft from the original session (preserved to document the history and not edit last year's documentation)

Social media sceptic "Penny" The maker "Bob" Publicist "Steven" Occasional contributor "Milena" Social media human "Ellie" Development leader "Tom"
Trivia / person
  • 54y
  • married, two children (22y and 16y)
  • works half-day in public service
  • good educational background
  • traditional information sources (TV, newspaper)
  • doubtful ("unsicher") regarding online world, but savvy offline
  • clumsy with digital world
  • does not use digital networks
  • 29y
  • professional education in STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics)
  • works in IT engineering, but not web-related
  • has quit Facebook
  • Twitter, Github
  • Forum user, mostly passive user of StackOverflow
  • lots of meetups, konws a lot of people, but mostly loose contacts (theme-centred, outside IT)
  • 45y, divorced
  • experienced journalist
  • broad interdisciplinary network
  • interested in public opinion
  • reads a lot
  • medium.com, 1 article/month
  • LinkedIn, Xing, GitHub
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
  • 30y, mother/family
  • UX/UI developer
  • well networked professionally
  • advancing in career, senior position
  • likes reading
  • future-oriented
  • LinkedIn, Xing, GitHub
  • Slack
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
  • undecided whether to use Medium or own site to write
  • 24y, in a relationship
  • nurse
  • well networked socially
  • sportive
  • sociable and outgoing
  • occasional vegetarian
  • snapchat, instagram, whatsapp
  • only posts on social media sites (silos)
  • never got used to Twitter
  • 38y, single/independent
  • technophilic
  • self-employed technology consultant
  • self-optimizer
  • very ambitious
  • no LinkedIn or Xing
  • 10k Twitter followers
  • tests silos mainly for development purposes (e.g. FB)
  • always first on every new service to try out ...and to secure his alias
  • website runs on his own CMS
  • confronted with technology changes in her peer/age group
Personal goals
  • stay connected with young generation, be role model
  • guide her children, but not savvy
  • keep her private things private
  • wants to be respected and taken seriously
  • evaluates what is worth doing vs. what he gains from it
  • pragmatic
  • caring for others
  • occational community engagement around certain causes
  • traditional career path
  • societal participation
  • influencing, explaining/evangelism
  • getting known
  • sharpening of profile
  • professional profile
  • become better as a person
  • knowledge sharing
  • efficient time management
  • knowledge exchange
  • work-life balance
  • be informed
  • attention
  • stay in contact
  • curious
  • sociable/communicative
  • need for affiliation
  • control over data and decisions
  • quantified self
  • "cyborg"
  • control
  • self-referred
  • polarize and exchange
Behaviour / approach
  • inert, hesistant, reserved
  • rejects new things instead on engage, because she thinks that she does not unterstand enough
  • driven by change from others
  • more interested in other parts of her life
  • "doubter"
  • no risk-taker for his core life
  • content with his life situation
  • solving his own problems alone
  • open-minded for technology
  • adventurous
  • passionate
  • average frustation tolerance
  • engaged
  • convinced of their mission
  • self-conscious
  • methodistic
  • communicative
  • endurance
  • interested to curious
  • focussed
  • responsible, engaged
  • patient
  • endurance
  • goal-driven
  • communicator, bringing people together
  • openly interested
  • spontaneous
  • happy-go-lucky
  • superficial
  • entertainment-oriented
  • direct
  • open
  • assertive
  • pragmatic
  • efficient
  • led by principles
  • motivating
  • extrovert
Functional- emotional- expressive
  • emotional
  • afraid, unable to cope
  • rationalises to other people
  • problem-oriented
  • helpful, supportive
  • rational, recherche, message
  • observer and (r)evolutionary
  • lifestyle
  • impulsive
  • life-affirming
  • analysis and principle
Thinking patterns
  • looking for hold and help (but secretly)
  • wants to be taken by hand
  • influencable and dependent in digital topics
  • based on trust and recommendations
  • solution-driven
  • community-oriented
  • rational
  • rational
  • critical, scrutinzing, analytical
  • didactical
  • rhetorical
  • quality-focussed
  • solution-driven
  • community-orientation
  • conflict-solving
  • attendant
  • cooperative
  • empathic
  • conflict avoidance
  • lightness
  • readiness to help others
  • focussed on the present
  • ready to switch
  • friends more important than platform
  • philantropist
  • problem-solver
Expectations and perception
  • looks for information to feel safe and secure
  • expects a trustful guidance/instructions
  • wishes for a trustful authority
  • selection of services instead of "full-blown" package
  • reputation of source drives her acceptance of digital guides and help
  • looks for substantial hands-on documentation/information (like small code samples)
  • expects/appreciates well-edited/-compiled information
  • expects fun
  • achieving self-defined goals = confirmation and success
  • tinkering is fun to him
  • wants to be heard
  • publicity
  • influencing
  • reach
  • networking and referencing
  • professional development
  • proportionality of tools is important
  • personal archive / "knowledge vault"
  • social confirmation/affirmation (feedback)
  • extreme simplicity
  • low barrier
  • group dynamics
  • "unique snowflake"
  • progress
  • freedom & individuality
  • control over identity
  • independence
Decision making (what is important?)
  • recommendation-based
  • trust
  • reliability, seriousness
  • demands easy-to-use solution, intuitive
  • solution must fit her needs, or are discarded completely
  • comprehensible and transparent explanations needed
  • curiosity
  • fun/entertainment
  • realistic achievements
  • fact-oriented
  • sympathy
  • "study and observe": not a fast decision maker
  • conscious decisions
  • ease of use
  • sttyle-conscious
  • workflow-oriented
  • reasonable time effort
  • improvement
  • stability
  • easy learning curve
  • user/need-oriented
  • reach
  • ease of use
  • what's trending?
  • enjoyment/fun
  • group dynamics
  • micro-individuality
  • chances for success
  • efficiency
  • innovation
  • experimentation
Relevant technical skills
  • does easy tasks on computer, able to learn new things
  • mostly uses default tools (wordprocessor, e-mail, browser)
  • no knowledge of technical terms at all
  • does not have own mobile devices
  • coding-savvy
  • pro knowledge
  • T-shape developer skills
  • Markdown
  • Mac user since OS9
  • writing tools
  • note-taking and archiving tools
  • 100 tabs open in browser
  • HTML/CSS, jQuery
  • visual and design
  • basic programming skills
  • does not know what HTML is
  • uses default browser on her Samsung smartphone
  • has all the silo apps on her smartphone
  • types superfast on her smartphone; 2 thumbs
  • pro knowledge
  • active open source contributor

See also