SAMS - Personas

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The created personas helped the UCD team as well as the complete SAMS project team to understand and analyse beekeeper needs better to develop SAMS products further. “Persona is a description of a user and what he or she intends to do when using an interactive system. Personas are not real; they are examples invented to stand for real users based on empirically determined data, for example, from observations or interviews. Personas typically have a name, age, some background information, goals, and desires. A persona description should include information about the persona’s knowledge about and interest in the subject matter of the interactive system. Persona descriptions often but not always include a photo.” [1]
The SAMS monitoring system development depends on the beekeepers’ background and context factors, for example, types of modern beehives they use, bee types they breed, electricity availability in their beekeeping site, and how deep they are personally influenced by beekeeping traditions and by their cultural environment and family traditions. Based on the results of the context of use analysis in the Field Research (Stage 1), following personas, collectively represent the major behaviours of beekeepers in Ethiopia and Indonesia.


Tadesse, Aberash and Degen

Ethiopian beekeeper personas.

  • Tadese represents beekeepers in the countryside which usually rely on their instincts and the traditional way of beekeeping;
  • Aberash represents small-scale modern beekeepers, living in small towns or suburbs of the cites;
  • Degen represents a modern beekeeper who is interested in large scale beekeeping and high financial incentive.

The Ethiopian personas are keeping Apis mellifera, which is the only bee species in the country. Tadese uses a homemade traditional beehive, the traditional beehive requires very low cost and a minimum management effort to operate but it is very low in productivity. The volumes per harvest is very low comparing to modern beehives. Most of the honey harvested is consumed within Tadese's family, a little portion of the honey goes to the local market. Aberash is a modern beekeeper, she has 15 to 20 modern beehives and works as a professional beekeeper. She is skilled using modern beekeeping equipment with combining the traditional ways of beekeeping. She offers her services to other fellow beekeepers and gains moderate financial benefit from her profession. Degen is a commercial beekeeper with a major interest in large scale honey production. He has good knowledge about the market value of honey and honey product distribution. He hires beekeeping professionals like Aberash to manage his apiaries and mostly focuses on the market dynamics of the honey products.


Kurt, Giuseppe, Dicky and Elsa

Indonesian beekeeper personas.

Kurt and Giuseppe are beekeepers who live in remote and rural areas of West Java. Though both are grassroots beekeepers,

  • Kurt represents the majority of the grassroot beekeepers who have limited access to stakeholders’ support; he often does his beekeeping activities with fellow grassroot beekeepers in his neighbourhood; he usually builds his beehives with recycled material (the “DIY” beehive type), each hives’ dimension may vary;
  • Giuseppe, though he lives close to Kurt, is privileged with his status as a member of the government’s office staff; this position benefits him with more access to the beekeeping sector’s stakeholders.

Dicky and Elsa represent the young generations of beekeepers,

  • Dicky grows up in a beekeeper family with generations of experience; his grandfather and father are beekeepers, so it is only natural for him to continue this tradition, despite his young age; born as a digital native, Dicky uses his social media presence to promote his activities and his family business;
  • Elsa, unlike the previously described personas, has no beekeeping tradition in her family; she is a curious millennial who wants to contribute in all possible ways to protect the environment, including keeping bees.

Types of Modern Beehives

The beekeepers work with different types of bees and modern beehives. Kurt mostly keeps Apis cerana, Giuseppe and Dicky have several colonies of Apis mellifera, Apis cerana, and Trigona spp. (stingless bee). While for Elsa, who lives in the city, it makes more sense to keep Trigona, the stingless bee – not only because it is stingless, but also its small size helps Elsa maintaining the colony easily. Kurt, Giuseppe, and Dicky have a professional interest in harvesting honey as it is one of their sources of income, Elsa harvests honey for her consumption only.

Types of modern beehives in Indonesia.

After further user research, the Indonesian personas were refined. Elsa, Dicky, Giuseppe and Kurt were removed mainly because of the SAMS product development’s focus, which is more suiting to other types of beekeepers.

Usep and Sopian

Refined personas in Indonesia.

Meet Usep, a 53 years old grassroots beekeeper living in a remote village, a two-hour drive from Ciamis Regency in West Java. Ciamis itself is a regency area 117 kilometres away from Bandung, the capital city of West Java. His mother tongue is Sundanese and he does not speak or understand English. He does bee hunting in the forest with his fellow beekeepers. He owns not more than 20 various types of modern beehives and bee types. His beekeeping methods are passed down from his mentors. He increased his beekeeping skills through shared beekeeping practices of the beekeeping community’s Facebook group. He is a smartphone user, like any other beekeeper in his circle. He uses his smartphone mostly for socializing via WhatsApp or Facebook. Not only promoting his products, he often shares his thoughts, perspectives, or complaints regarding political or social issues through WhatsApp and uses Facebook posts to promote his beekeeping activities. Meet Sopian, a 40 years old beekeeper who lives in the peri-urban area near Bandung, the capital city of West Java. He started beekeeping when he was 17 years old. He got his beekeeping knowledge from his brother and perfecting it along the way. Aside from being a beekeeper, Sopian also works as a government officer in the Regency Office. He is doing beekeeping whenever he is off duty from his office work and during weekends. Like Usep, Sopian also uses a smartphone to socialize and sell his harvested honey. Sopian creates a network of beekeepers in several rural areas near his place and considers them as his partners. Sopian will teach them his way of beekeeping, support them with logistics like modern beehives, and when the harvesting time is coming, he will help them sell their harvested honey as well with fair profit sharing. Though he is confident with his beekeeping method, Sopian eagerly learns new ways and new things related to beekeeping practices, including integrating technology in beekeeping. For selling his honey, he built a small counter in front of his house. Visitors are also welcome to discuss bee-related knowledge.