A Persona of the family group?




I’m starting some work for a small start-up company that has developed a system to help autistic children develop language skills. They use cartoons and animation as the kids are visual predominantly learners.

I’m going to be looking at their main website to help prospective parents find the information the require, and hopefully engage with the main call to action. Which is to contact the company and sign up for the program.

I want to develop personas to help us really understand these who these people are.
My question is, could I develop a persona of the ‘family unit’ or even the ‘parents’ as a couple?
Or just create individual personas. My instinct is that this would be very much a joint parent decision.

Any thoughts welcome,


Hi Paddy,

Autistic adult here.

Your instinct is probably right but what is your research saying? What have you learned about these families so far? And the psychologists, the doctors, teachers, older siblings etc?

I was diagnosed as an adult, but my parents did try to figure out my differences early. I got missed because it was 1993, Asperger’s wasn’t a thing until 1994 and the spectrum was seen as a ‘boy’ thing. All that aside- my parents did make decisions about my needs jointly. But I had two parents. Who lived together as a couple. Not everyone has that.

Another thing to be aware of, parents of autistic kids come in multiple shapes and forms- some embrace their kids’ differences, others seek to change them and turn them ‘normal’ (something horrible called ABA Therapy), some might know a lot about autism, some might be very new to this. Maybe you could have different types of family unit personas? I’m brainstorming here- ultimately your research is what should be guiding you :slight_smile:


Hi Ashlea

Thanks for that, great questions for me to get pondering.
Its interesting the company also say that the Parents are very different, and the product doesn’t work for everyone. Identifying the families that they can help is very important.

I hope to get access to the existing customer profiles, and this will be the starting point for the personas. Ideally I hope to get to meet some of these families also.

I’ve a video link below telling the story of the company. I met Enda and his son Conor last week, very inspiring.



Hey Paddy, I work for a company that builds assistive technology software for people with physical, vision, communication and reading impairments. One of the primary apps I work on is an app for non-verbal people who use this to provide a voice - many people who use this app are on the autism spectrum, from both ends of the scale.

When I performed research I found that for the AAC project I was working on the primary users split naturally into family and professionals, and those pre-purchase, early on their journey or more advanced users. There was also the need to capture the user, but (and I’m sure you’re aware of this), there is a well known saying “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”.

In a roundabout way I just want to echo Ashlea’s comment - your research will uncover insights that will help guide you in forming these archetypes to help move you forward. If it helps my process was the following - understanding what business know (or don’t know), use that knowledge (extensive in my case) - I created proto personas to make sure we were on the same page, and I used these to help source people to speak to, to get better understanding of the users and their needs. This in turn led to the personas I mentioned above.


Hi Dean,

Many thanks, that’s invaluable information, I might drop you the odd message if I come across any issues as we go. My plan was to look at the existing customer database and from that information build up a basic set of personas.

I"m not working on their learning product as such. Only on their website, to help their users find the correct information, make enquiries or sign up to the program.




Although most of us prefer identity first language of “If you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met ONE autistic person” :grinning:

But I like that you get it :smiley:


A colleague wrote an interesting post: http://www.assistiveware.com/5-guidelines-keep-mind-during-autism-acceptance-month

Almost straight out a UX handbook… it depends. Some people have a preference to identity first, others have a preference for person-first. Kinda fits nicely into the saying really :wink:

There’s lots of interesting things happening in this area, a couple of guys in NYC ran a Kickstarter project which led to a series of meetups around the US, called “Designing for Autism” - http://www.designingforautism.com/

…from this I ran a meetup in Amsterdam as part of the “Inclusive Design & Accessibility” group and had someone talk about autism & development (he’s an autistic programmer, and the company he works for only employs autistic people), as well as the person who created the brand for ‘Designing for Autism’ (my wife actually), and another speaker.

Super interesting topics and I love exploring the interconnection between UX and Inclusive Design.