The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) made terabytes of high resolution climate scenario data available to researchers worldwide. The generation of the data were complicated and misuse or miscalculations of the datasets could have dramatic consequences. We wanted to make sure we were delivering the data in an efficient way and assisting our data users in the most useful and appropriate ways.
The team I worked with felt they had a good understanding of our data community (users). Also, I hadn’t heard of UX research in a formalized way at this time. Rather, I was working towards a masters in Social Science (psychology and communication). I spent most of my time focusing on the intersection of physical and social sciences research methods.
I walked into this project after conceptual groups were already created. It was my job as the Data Community Liaison to validate assumptions and build out data-driven personas. I gathered data in 4 ways.
We originally thought that Hazard Impacts Researchers and Policy Makers were similar enough to be lumped together. After talking with several from each group, it was clear that they were quite unique.
NARCCAP was able to use these 4 personas to ensure that all users were represented in our work at future workshops and in the breadth of educational materials we offered.
Our growing data community and variety of users helped secure several rounds of funding – including from organizations that we would not have originally expected would be interested.