I think these personas describe a large range of people out there. All I can say is I find more differences than similarities with these 'people' and the people I know.
For one, my boss is very similar to Samuel (workaholic business owner) minus any technical skills relating to web (he comes from a graphic/print background). He would visit this site to keep up with the business blog, and learn bits as he goes along.
I myself, find I am split between 3 or so personas. I am a student AND work full-time desperately trying to get my foot in the door (Luckily I landed a job through TAFE and somehow have to balance it). I am not a troublemaker as I'm trying to do everything ethically (not trolling anyone, using legit software etc.). I'm a downright geek and will Google or Wikipedia just about everything. At the pace I move at I need information fast and like, yesterday man!(that's also why I use Chrome on Win 7RC1).
I'm looking forward to seeing what other personas people come up with.
Thank you for this great article. I teach a class called "Website Advertising & Design Principles" and the first thing I have the students do is write personas (just like you have done - names, photos, background info, media habits, etc.) for the website they are working on. They then use these personas to create mock-ups of landing pages, home pages, registration forms, etc. I have found that having them create the personas helps them to focus on the calls to action and verbiage they should use on their pages, instead of trying to appeal to "everyone on the Internet".
As far as I can see from the descriptions all of the personas would have an interest in SEO. Sitepoint don't cater for subjects where the people wouldn't have such an interest and so a persona for people not interested in SEO would be unnecessary as the people that persona would match to wouldn't visit the Sitepoint web site at all.
There's no reason why all of the personas would have an interest in SEO. It's a highly specialized field that quite often has no correlation to content, design, or anything actually meaningful (can you tell I have no interest in SEO, rather, a large dislike?)
Being 60 years old I found it interesting that Harvey Randolph was in SitePoint Personas, that was until I read about Harvey. Could you have found anyone with more stereotypes of an older person: Retired and wanting to move to warmer climate, Son setup computer, vision problems, etc. How about next time you want to use an older person in one of your articles you find someone more vibrant and not someone who perpetuates your stereotype of an older person.
@steve0 Fair comment Steve. My goals are two-fold here—to capture the majority of our different types of users, and to ensure that visitors with special needs were represented. The reason I explicitly gave Harvey vision problems was so that people who DO have vision problems who visit our site have a voice when we make design decisions.
Same deal with his computer literacy—we want to ensure that people who are new to building web sites can navigate our site and don't get lost (I suspect at the moment that is not the case). Making Harvey a spritely individual who is a computer expert with no vision problems would defeat the purpose of this exercise—if this was the case for one of our elderly visitors, then they would already be well represented by the other personas.
I hope this gives you some insight into some of the choices made here. Happy to discuss this further.
Interesting article and a very worthwhile technique!
Personally I don't think it's wise to go into quite so much detail about each persona's bio. I think excessive detail increases the risk of developing for a group of imaginary people who actually don't (if you're unlucky) represent reality very well. I feel happier with a more generic set of personas and characteristics, which can more reliably reflect a group of broadly similar individuals. A watered down version, if you like, but not so much that the technique loses its effectiveness.