Understanding Users

To gain a better understanding of webcompat.com’s users, I researched the motives for and barriers to open source participation.

Third party research, stakeholder input, and information from public forums allowed me to further develop my initial assumptions about the site’s users. My findings included feelings and behaviors which were then grouped into broad personas in order to synthesize the research.

  • The College Student’s initial motivation is to complete an assignment. As he’s working against a deadline, he’s frustrated by delayed answers .
  • The Web Developer is more experienced and is concerned with self-promotion. As such, he’s drawn to projects that openly acknowledge and celebrate their contributors.
  • The Independent Learner is a complete novice and needs more technical and community support than the previous two personas.

Experience Map

Once I had a better understanding of potential project participants, I wanted to become familiar with the typical process of joining an open source project. To accomplish this, I created a user journey map outlining the stages, actions, thoughts and opportunities of potential contributors.


Possible concerns of the three individual personas were sketched out at each stage. This helped form suggestions for content and features to satisfy a range of user needs.
Having this visual representation helped me understand the concerns and information needs of potential contributors. Thus, allowing me to assess how well webcompat.com is meeting the needs of its users.


First, insights such as user quotes, behaviors, and problems were written down on sticky notes. Then, the notes were arranged under the typical steps followed by contributors to new open source projects. A draft of the map was then created in Illustrator.
As more is discovered through activities such as competitive analysis and user testing, the personas and experience map will be updated throughout the design process.