Most agree that personas are built on data, but several have experimented with purely fiction-based personas. These personas are often used to explore design and generate discussion and insights in the field. There are several suggestions to use fiction, here are a couple of links for inspiration: Continue reading
I have collected a few articles on how to use quantitative data to establish personas. If you know of more do not hesitate to write me and I will add them to the list. Continue reading
Love, Hate, and Empathy: Why We Still Need Personas
by Kyra Edeker, Jan Moorman
UX is a relatively nascent discipline: a boisterous, hopeful, opinionated, and insightful young adult who sometimes lacks perspective. Need evidence? Just yesterday personas were a UX designers’ BFF, but today? Well, not so much.
There’s been some gossip about how they are ‘fakes’ and really don’t help build empathy. Some have even called for their total abandonment. What’s behind this trajectory from love to hate? Is there hope for personas as real empathy builders?
Read the whole article here:
Personas: A Critical Investment For Content Strategy
Personas as the silver bullet to guarantee empathy?
“Content strategy isn’t really a discipline but a defined approach to handling an organization’s content consistently across departments and channels. It can only be effective if it becomes ubiquitous to the processes and procedures that already exist within business – communications, public relations, customer service, marketing, graphic design, IT, etc. While the defined strategy may be about content, the tactics by which we achieve our content goals are really about people. Who are we publishing content for? How will they interact with the content we present? How do they define relevancy? What is meaningful and engaging to them? Borrowing a tool that user experience and interaction designers have used for years, personas are a powerful way to not only create and implement a sound content strategy, but to facilitate its adoption by everyone in the organization.”
(Kristina Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ Follow the UX Leader)
Using Personas During Design and Documentation
“(…) although demographics and task analysis play an important part in persona creation, personas are more than just a collection of user profiles and groups. You should make them as real as you can. They should embody all the human attributes you’d expect to find in your users. For example, they could be moody, very task oriented, work in a specific type of environment, or even hate the idea of referring to documentation unless they are absolutely compelled to do so.”
(Niranjan Jahagirdar and Arun Joseph Martin ~ UXmatters.com)
“This is by far the nerdiest episode we ever did, so fasten your seat belts. In his session at UXcamp, Tom said: “Personas – love ‘em or hate ‘em – you can’t not use ‘em. Either you have zombies, or you have living ones.” In this recording of his session he talks about different kinds of zombies like Mirror Personas, Undead Personas, Unicorn Personas or Stupid User Personas. He gives advice on how to avoid these fellas and how to make good use of living personas during a project. As a bonus, Tom explains why 37signals doesn’t need personas at all.”
Nielsen, Lene ; Bødker, Mads. / To do or not to do : Usability in open source development. I: Interfaces. 2007 ; vol. 71, summer. s. 10-11
Bødker, Mads ; Nielsen, Lene ; Ørngreen, Rikke. / Enabling user centered design processes in open source communities. I: Usability and internationalization. Berlin : HCII / Springer Verlag, 2007. s. 10-18 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; 4559).
Nielsen, Lene ; Chavan, Sameer. / Differences in task description in the think aloud test. I: Usability and internationalization. Berlin : HCII / Springer Verlag, 2007. s. 174-180 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; 4559).
Having worked with personas before the method ever came to be known as personas there are, from my research and practical experience, three important areas that have to be considered: the data material, engagement in the personas descriptions, and buy-in from the organization which is part of the development process whether it is redesign or a development from scratch. This is the rationale behind my development of 10 steps to personas, an attempt to cover the entire process from initial data gathering to ongoing development.
In the following I will briefly outline the 10 steps. Any project that uses personas does not necessarily need to follow all 10 steps as long as the responsible party knows the consequences of skipping a step.
Step 1: Finding the Users
The initial step is to get hold of as much knowledge of the users as possible. The data can originate from several sources: interviews, observations, second hand information, questionnaires, reports, cultural probes etc.
In my experience large companies have often a lot of information about the users, reports from marketing, call centers etc. these can in some extend substitute real life meetings with users, but they also create problems as they do not focus on the subject that the project is about. This might become visible in the next step.
Step 2: Building a Hypothesis
Working with the personas method is to focus on users in a certain context which originates from the project. Often companies have a certain way of talking about their users that does not take into consideration the different context the users might be in when using a website or a system.
For download: my Ph.D – dissertation
Engaging Personas and Narrative Scenarios – 2004 – Ph.d