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These days, understanding your online visitors is more important than ever – and thanks to analytics, it’s possible to learn more about their online behaviors. On the Legacy Network, we have two core groups of people on the site. People who are in need of information regarding a recent death, called “Mourners” and those who have a habit of checking obituaries, called “Browsers.” While identifying different types of users is helpful, it’s often hard to imagine them as real people. Who are they, really? What do they care about most?

To find the answer, Legacy conducted a study over a six-month period. We utilized extensive data analysis and market research to bring these online visitors to life in the form of 10 user personas.

What is a persona?

Personas are essentially user profiles that represent groups of similar people. They reveal the goals, behaviors, attitudes and other characteristics of certain types of users using all available quantitative and qualitative data.

By adding a few fictional personal details to define each persona, we’ve made them more realistic and easier to understand and relate to.

Each of our 10 personas represents 10 percent of Legacy.com’s visitors. Through these personas, we hope to bring to life the key patterns of the people you’ll find interacting with your online obituaries.

Without further ado, we invite you to get to know your users on a more personal level. The following descriptions should give you a picture of the people who interact with online obituaries, how obituaries fit into the context of their life and what kinds of behavior they are likely to take.

10 Distinct Personas

Young Sympathetic

Young Sympathetic, 18-31, female


Kat Foster is a young sympathetic and a Mourner. She’s a natural helper, from rescuing a stray cat to being the “go-to gal” at work. She has interacted with online obituaries once so far, when her aunt emailed her a link to her second cousin’s obituary. She signed the Guest Book, but hasn’t been back since. If she learned of a death in the future, she would be eager to help support the family.


Connected Mom

Connected Mom, 32-39, female


Lindsey Kovac is a connected mom who checks the local news and celebrity stories every day. As a Mourner, Lindsey does not read online obituaries often. Her last interaction with an online obituary was to add a message to actor Paul Walker’s Guest Book. These days, her social life is largely online since the children were born, though she still gets in the occasional date night with her husband when they can obtain a sitter.


Experienced Mom

Experienced Mom, 40-45, female


Tina Karas is an experienced mom who is back working full time now that her daughter is in college and her son is in high school. As a Mourner, Tina’s first interaction with online obituaries was when an old friend died suddenly of a heart attack. Tina enjoys retail therapy, spending time with her son and evenings out with her husband. She also resumed running after her friend’s untimely death.


Coach Dad

Coach Dad, 46-49, male


Chuck Briggs is a coach dad, raising his four daughters to be star athletes. His parents are getting older, and one of their neighbors died recently. Chuck emailed them the obituary. He also found a friend’s obituary online as well. He is employed at a technology company near his home and works hard during the day to provide for his family.


Cynthia Solo

Cynthia Solo, 50-53, female


Cynthia Marshall also known as “Cynthia Solo,” is a Browser, and she runs the office for a hospital urology department. Many of her patients are older, so she checks online obituaries if they miss an appointment, just in case. She is very skilled at searching the Web and can identify quickly what she needs to know. She values her independence, starting her first job at 16 and working ever since.



Family Glue, 54-57, female


Rosemary is the family glue. As a Browser, she checks local obituaries online at least four times a week. She’ll add to the Guest Book for anyone she knows and sometimes even for a few people she just wishes well. She’s likely to purchase flowers for friends out of town or to deliver soup to people nearby who may need a hand.



Historian, 58-61, female


Ann Bergin the historian, is a Browser. She got involved in researching her family’s history in 2001 and got hooked. She checks the obituaries whenever she gets a chance, and she is fascinated by the family history she can track down. She also loves to help friends discover more about themselves. Her new hobby has been a neat way to keep her mind active and share with the family.



The Wilson, 62-65, male


Charles Wilson is known as “The Wilson.” A Browser, he prefers to be well-informed on all sorts of topics, from sports to news to deaths. He browses the obituaries every day as part of his newspaper reading habit. When he finds someone he knows, he reaches out to share the news with others in the community. When confronted with a death, he prefers making a donation or sending flowers to avoid struggling with his words.



Veteran, 66-71, male


John Phillips is a veteran and a Browser. He served with the 11th Armored Cavalry “Blackhorse” Regiment in Vietnam. John uses obituary email alerts to keep tabs on his military unit and his high school classmates. He regularly browses the obituaries in his local paper. He wouldn’t miss a Blackhorse gathering for the world.


Mrs. Peabody

Mrs. Peabody, 77-99+, female


Edith Peabody is simply “Mrs. Peabody.” She is a Browser, a great-grandmother and a recent widow. She uses her iPad to connect to the digital world. The children helped her bookmark her local online obituaries, and she checks the notices in her hometown paper every day. Sometimes she listens to the obituaries she’s interested in instead of making the type bigger.


Knowing who visits online obituaries helps us to better serve them, by providing the information, resources and content they want to see online. Of course, these brief introductions barely scratch the surface of what we know about these visitors.