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What’s wrong with it?
• In marketing and user-centered design, personas are fictional characters created to
represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior
set that might use a site, brand or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas
together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be
representative of specific segments. The term persona is used widely in online and
technology applications as well as in advertising, where other terms such as pen
portraits may also be used.
• Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers and
users in order to help to guide decisions about a service, product or interaction space such
as features, interactions, and visual design of a website. Personas may also be used as
part of a user-centered design process for designing software and are also considered a
part of interaction design (IxD), having been used in industrial design and more recently for
online marketing purposes.
• A user persona is a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group
of users. In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews with
users. They are captured in 1–2 page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals,
skills, attitudes, and environment, with a few fictional personal details to make the persona
a realistic character. For each product, more than one persona is usually created, but one
persona should always be the primary focus for the design.
The Inmates are Running the
“Develop a precise description
of our user and what he wishes
to accomplish. The
sophistication comes from how
we determine and use that
precise description…We make
up pretend users and design
for them. We call these pretend
“Personas are not real people, but they
represent them throughout the design process.
They are hypothetical archetypes of actual
users. Although they are imaginary, they are
defined with significant rigor and precision.
Actually, we don't so much "make up" our
personas as discover them as a byproduct of
the investigation process. We do, however,
make up their names and personal details.”
• Goal: create a common understanding of
the final user.
• Represent similar behavior patterns of a
cluster of users, not job descriptions
Types of Personas: Olsen
• Focal (primary)
• Secondary (satisfy when we can)
• Unimportant (low-priority)
• Affected (bystanders, of a sort)
• Exclusionary (not gonna bother)
• Stakeholders (people who write checks)
» From Boxes and Arrows
Types of Personas: Cooper
• Design for Primary!
Writing Effective Personas
• You don't "make up" personas, but instead discover them as a byproduct of
your requirements investigation process.
• Write specific personas: you will have a much greater degree of success
designing for a single person. The "generic user" will bend and stretch to
meet the moment, but your true goal should be to develop software which
bends and stretches. Your personas should "wiggle" under the pressure of
• You want to know what the persona's goals are so that you can see what
your system needs to do, and not do.
• Sometimes you want to identify negative personas, people that you are not
• A primary persona is someone who must be satisfied but who cannot be
satisfied by a user interface that is designed for another persona.
• If you identify more than three primary personas your scope is likely too
• You want a finite number of personas, your goal is to narrow down the
people that you are designing the system for.
Anatomy of a Persona
4. Must Does / Must
5. Referents &
6. Devices & Platforms
7. User Product /
10. Experience Goals
13. User Type
• Proto-personas are an ad hoc, non-
research-backed articulation of a
• Originate from brainstorming workshops
• Create a starting point from which to begin
evaluating products and create some early
• Helpful in initiating and reinforcing corporate
awareness of customer’s POV
• Once created, take them to field to validate
A checklist to identify
What is your job
role? Your job
How is your job
What is a typical
What skills are
and tools do you
Who do you
report to? Who
reports to you?
What are you
What does it
mean to be
What are your
How do you
What industry or
What is the size
of your company
How do you
learn about new
blogs do you
do you belong
How to you
prefer to interact
(email, phone, in
Do you use the
or products? If
yes, how do you
What types of
websites do you