I find the use of personas in user experience a very interesting concept. Personas are used to consolidate the information gathered about a user base into an example that can be used as a stand in for actual users. For the website I’m working on, http://www.gamepreserve.com, I went to the store, talked with friends that regularly go there, and used my own experiences with the store in the past in order to gather some user information.
While I was there, I noticed certain patterns about the customers. Some came to the store to buy products and immediately left, but most of the people I saw didn’t come only to buy products. They talked to the sales people and talked to other customers about what games they would recommend, what events were going on soon at the store, and other social exchanges having to do with the multiple types of games in the shop. I’ve gone to the store myself multiple times over the years I’ve lived in Bloomington and have noticed that the social atmosphere seems to remain the same.
So how does one keep that social aspect in a business website? The Game Preserve has a twitter account and has event calenders on their site, but from the home page most would not think of the social aspect. They would probably instead think of it as just like most other online stores with products to click and add to a shopping cart. I feel that the atmosphere of the shop itself needs to be somehow reflected on the website that is supposed to represent their presence on the internet.