Personas for Digital Inclusion and Assisted Digital

29 Jul 2014

You can use personas to understand the needs of those with limited digital skills, and support them in using a council's website and digital services. We've included example personas for:

  • the elderly
  • the unemployed
  • people with disabilities
  • people with low literacy skills
  • people who live in social housing
  • ex-offenders

If you have any personas you’re willing to share, we’d love to add them to this page – please contact us.

We've included just a few sample personas on this page. For all of our personas and for easy editing and printing, you can download the Word document at the bottom of this page.

NB We've also produced personas for improving user journeys on council websites.

Digital Inclusion and Assisted Digital: the difference

We’ve divided our personas into those for Digital Inclusion and those for Assisted Digital.

The Digital Inclusion personas have a limited amount of digital skills – with some help and training, and by making websites simpler to use, they could be encouraged to use digital. These personas are useful if you’re working on improving and simplifying your website.

The Assisted Digital personas have a much lower capacity to use digital – some will never be able to use digital, even with help. These personas are useful if you’re thinking about how to ensure everybody can access services, even if they can’t do it digitally.

Persona: Elderly/Digital Inclusion



About Ranjan

  • Ranjan is 79 and lives with his wife Sarb.
  • He has 2 daughters and a son who live nearby with their spouses and children. He sees them a lot.
  • He also has relatives in India.

Ranjan and digital

  • Ranjan and Sarb have an iPad they were given by their son.
  • They use it occasionally, when the family are over, to Skype relatives in India.
  • The grandchildren use it to watch cartoons when they visit.

Ranjan's task

  • Ranjan’s bin wasn’t picked up this morning.
  • In his booklet from the council, it says to report missed bins to a page on the council’s website.
Quick fact: Over 53% of people who lack basic digital skills are aged over 65, and 69% are over 55.

Persona: With a disability/Digital Inclusion



About Jane

  • Jane is 29 years old and lives with her mother.
  • She has learning difficulties.
  • She works part-time in a charity shop.
  • Jane is very sociable and still has friends from her old school and from the charity shop.

Jane and digital

  • Jane has a laptop.
  • She uses it to go on Facebook, which she loves because it helps her stay in touch with her friends.
  • She also goes on Amazon to order books that she likes.
  • She feels fairly confident with the bits of Facebook and Amazon she uses.
  • She occasionally uses other websites but she often finds them confusing.

Jane's task

  • Jane tripped on a pothole on her way to work.
  • She wants to report this to the council.
Quick fact:  33% of people with registered disabilities have never used the internet. This is 54% of the total number of people who have never used the internet.

Persona: In social housing/Assisted Digital


Builder David Melling

About Tony

  • Tony is 54 and works as a roofer.
  • He lives in a council tower block.
  • He has a grown up daughter and one granddaughter who he dotes on, but they live 100 miles away.
  • His daughter is struggling to make ends meet.
  • One of Tony’s workmates told him how his son’s school gave him a grant towards his school uniform this year.

Tony and digital

  • Tony has a smartphone but only uses it for calls – the rest of the functions are a mystery to him.
  • He doesn’t have a computer or broadband at home, as he can’t afford it.
  • He has never used the internet and finds the idea of it daunting.

Tony's user needs

  • Tony would like to find out whether his granddaughter’s school offers grants for free school uniforms.
  • He’s heard it’s possible to get free items from the internet and would like to know how.
Quick fact: 37% of those who are digitally excluded are social housing tenants


Persona: Low literacy/Assisted Digital



About Irena

  • Irena is 40 years old and Lithuanian.
  • She came to the UK 5 years ago with her husband and 2 children, who are now 6 and 9.
  • She recently split from her husband, who went back to Lithuania. She decided to stay in the UK with her children.
  • She is a very unconfident English speaker and used to rely on her husband, as he had very good English.

Irena and digital

  • Irena has a non-smart phone.
  • Her children use computers at school but she has never really used one.

Irena's user needs

  • Irena has just got a parking fine from her council – it has a phone number and a web address on it.
  • She’d like to speak to family in Lithuania more, but can’t afford to phone very often.


Persona: Unemployed/Digital Inclusion



About Emma

  • Emma is 42 and single.
  • She’s spent the last 16 years looking after her disabled mother full-time, who died 6 months ago.
  • Before caring, she used to work as a shop assistant after leaving school at 16.
  • She loves driving and is a confident driver.
  • She likes the idea of becoming a taxi driver, because it’s a sociable job and she’ll meet lots of people

Emma and digital

  • Emma isn’t confident with the internet but would love to learn more.
  • She doesn’t have the internet at home, but used to use the computers in the library to look up medical information about her mother.

Emma's task

  • Emma wants to apply for a taxi licence
Quick fact: 17% of people earning less than £20,000 never use the internet, as opposed to 2% of people earning more than £40,000.


Persona: Ex-offender/Assisted Digital



About Tom

  • Tom is 49 years old.
  • He grew up in care and then joined the army, leaving when he was 44.
  • Soon after leaving the army, he was sentenced to 14 months in prison for assault.
  • He is an alcoholic and struggles to get and hold down jobs.
  • At the moment, he’s homeless and sleeping on the streets.

Tom and digital

  • Tom has no computer or mobile phone.
  • He used the internet occasionally when he was in the army but was never that interested in it.

Tom's user needs

  • Tom would like to get back in touch with his mother, but doesn’t know where she lives.
  • He also wants to go on the waiting list for a council house.
Quick fact: In recent research, 21% of ex-offenders needed help with maths, reading and writing, 41% with their education, and 40% to help improve their work-related skills.



Personas for Digital Inclusion and Assisted Digital
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