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Names of WAI site user personas

From: <michaeka@wellsfargo.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 19:22:39 -0700
Message-ID: <4FE9AD0A3D28CE42A163544072FE867601B857F2@msgsw55cacah01.wellsfargo.com>
To: public-wai-eo-site@w3.org

Hello, all -

As you know, the WAI site personas are given inconsistent naming. Some are
given only last names, others just first names, and some first and last
names, while others have titles (Professor, Dr.). I understand from today's
WSTF meeting that the intent was to give the personas names that they would
be addressed by in the work environment.

When I first looked at the personas, I was distracted by the inconsistency,
which took me away from the page content. Was there a reason relating to the
personas that they were given first, last, or first/last names? Also, my
writer/editor persona was dismayed by the lack of parallel construction
(sorry, can't help it...).

I don't think trying to figure out how the personas would be addressed is
beneficial or accurate. For example, why is a 32-year-old Web site developer
(Mrs. Prado) addressed by her last name, whereas a 26-year-old graphic
designer (Marc) is addressed by his first name? Age discrimination? (The two
youngest people on the page are given only first names.)

The inconsistent usage could also be considered discriminatory in other
ways. People higher up on the social scale may use or are commonly addressed
by more of their name. For example, students and doctors' patients are
addressed by first name, professionals such as doctors are addressed by last
name, and executives' names are written in full.

In my eight years as a Web designer/developer, I've always addressed my
colleagues or consultants by their first names. That includes developers,
visual designers, IAs, usability researchers, and higher level executives,
as well as working environments ranging from a three-person Web firm to
large corporations. (This, of course, is from my U.S. perspective; maybe
it's different in other countries. I'd appreciate hearing from our non-U.S.
members about this.)

I think it would be cleaner and more consistent (and safer) to give all the
personas first and last names. We may or may not need "Mr." or "Ms.," though
these may be helpful for screen reader users to know if the personas are
male or female. We could possibly leave the titles "Professor" and "Dr." as
people in those roles are addressed thusly.


Blossom Michaeloff
Web Research and Design
Wells Fargo
Received on Tuesday, 27 January 2004 04:45:50 UTC

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