Changes and similarities in the application of the method
Even though this survey was done as independent research with interviews in 12 core companies, it is interesting to compare with the previous study done in 2009 to see if there are changes in the application of the method
Before doing so it is important to stress that the surveys are different in focus, they have different questionnaires, and the previous survey did not include questions on personas in an international perspective.
A global challenge
When creating persona descriptions the companies who have an international target group find the international perspective challenging.
V8: “One is from Frankfurt am Main, one is from Poland, and one is from Norway. [...] we had actually decided that we want personas from around the world in order to create a broad representation of users and touch points. Whereupon we asked the question: “Do we need personas from around the world?” to our reference group. They were of the same opinion, because it makes sense as we sell to everywhere in the world [ ...] the countries were not chosen coincidental, they were chosen because of their substance – if they were representative, if they covered a lot of countries.”
The specific international differences that are perceived as relevant are:
- IT competences
- Access to Internet
- Language abilities
- Differences in company autonomy/managerial responsibilities
- Level of education
How Danish companies apply personas
This report is based on a project initiated and financed by Infinit – the IT Innovation Network.
The report is based on 18 interviews with 28 participants from 13 companies, obtained from December 2012 until January 2013.
The aim of the project is to investigate how personas are established, communicated, used, and maintained in Danish companies, and, from the survey, to extract recommendations on how to develop, design, and use personas.
The persona method has developed from being a method for IT system development to being used in many other contexts, including development of products, marketing, planning of communication, and service design. Despite the fact that the method has existed since the late 1990s, there is still no clear definition of what the method encompasses. Common understanding is that the persona is a description of a fictitious person, but whether this description is based on assumptions or data is not clear, and opinions also differ on what the persona description should cover. Furthermore, there is no agreement on the benefits of the method in the design process; the benefits are seen as ranging from increasing the focus on users and their needs, to being an effective communication tool, to having direct design influence, such as leading to better design decisions and defining the product’s feature set (Cooper, 1999; Cooper et al, 2007; Grudin & Pruitt, 2002; Long, 2009;Ma & LeRouge, 2007; Miaskiewicz & Kozar, 2011; Pruitt & Adlin, 2006).
Read more at http://interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/personas.html
I am happy to announce that my book on personas is now published by Springer. The book: Personas – user focused design includes a chapter on the use of personas around the globe with contribution from Australia, Brazil, Finland, Russia, Japan, India, and UK. Continue reading
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