Use Matrix

The details matter. The connections matter. When trying to understand how people use their resources, you need to understand their goals, their tasks, and their lives. Users aren’t nebulous outsiders — they’re real people with real lives, and sometimes those lives are busy and messy. When creating use matrices for users, I focus on understanding not just what they do with their resources, but how their actions fit into their dreams and lives.

Names and statistically insignificant details may have been changed to protect the identity of the users. Data was collected during field interviews. For a view of the spreadsheet, the PDF can be found here.

Restitution officer and project manager in Mobile, AL. Responsible for the implementaiton of multiple statewide programs and dedicated to promoting financial literacy and social reintegration for those within the justice system.


57 years old. Recently married. Retired two years early as a restitution officer and project manager in the Mobile, Alabama’s district attorney office. She has worked within judicial services for over twenty years and believes strongly that it’s up to the justice system to provide the tools of success to those they serve. She is not overly loyal to brands or attached to her tools of the trade, though she admits that some of her preferences are due to familiarity. Her strongest motivator when assessing a tool is its efficiency.


Negotiates with debt holders to establishment payment plans and provides them with financial coaching. She also frequently works with bondsmen and law enforcement when cases are escalated.


Coordinates with colleagues within the financial units (multiples).

Alabama legal code (stored both in hard copy and on work server) used to perform tasks. Consults this if she’s unsure how to proceed.

Frequently prints out workbooks and uses the physical copies to share or emphasize information (with highlighters). Uses pencil and paper to record information from DOS programs and uses it for creating reports in Excel.


Personal office which has been customized over the past 20 years in Mobile, AL. She has a door she can close for privacy and easy access to nearby coworkers and clerks.

Uses Excel and the older, DOS version of several proprietary database programs. All tools were provided by directly by her employer (DA office) or from the state (Alabama). Elizabeth can access all of her digital tools remotely via a program she helped set up. She uses the older, DOS based versions of CJIS and SJIS because she’s more familiar and they provide more information. Although she does not find the newer tools “difficult”, they do not provide her with the same functionality as the older tools. She uses all of these tools on a regular basis for her tasks.


  • Collect court fees for District Attorney’s office.
  • Prepare convicts/felons with the financial tools they need to repay their court costs.
  • Maintain budget and accurate data of incoming revenue.
  • Provide accurate revenue projections for the next fiscal year.


  • Compiles accurate data about financial position of office, creates yearly projections, and creates plans of action for addressing any office budget deficiencies.
  • She has access to more modern tools but uses DOS based systems.
  • Although much of Elizabeth’s work is within budgeting, she also makes a point to coach convicts and provide them with the tools needed to maintain their own finances and repay their debts.

Task/Goal Relationship

  • Tailors payment plans on an individual basis because it yields a higher chance of success. Prefers using older, DOS-based CJIS and SJIS because she can move through them more quickly than the newer programs. Providing coaching to ensure that payment plans are fulfilled and enable the people she works with to reintegrate into society.
  • She usually communicates information (financial info) over in-house email because it allows her to juggle many tasks at once. Likewise, she uses Excel because it can handle every calculation needed for her duties and allows her to create financial projections easily for the next year.