What’s real and what’s not?
“Design needs simplification but not generalization. You have to look at the research elements that stand out: the sentences that captured your attention, the images that struck you, the sounds that linger. Portray those, use them to describe the person in their multiple contexts. Both insights and people come with a context; they cannot be cut from that context because it would remove meaning. It’s high time for design to move away from fiction, and embrace reality – in its messy, surprising, and unquantifiable beauty – as our guide and inspiration.”
Emanuela Cozzi and Lennart Overkamp ~ A List Apart ★
Employee and/or buyer personas.
“You think you’re just like everyone else. You think your thoughts, opinions, values, and habits are just the same as other people. Psychology calls this the false consensus bias1 because we assume much more commonality than reality warrants. False consensus bias contributes to making bad decisions when we design software.”
Kayla Block a.k.a. /kaylablock ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
Great for your empathy.
“Jobs-to-be-done focus on user problems and needs, while well-executed personas include the same information and also add behavioral and attitudinal details.”
Page Laubheimer a.k.a. /page-laubheimer | @page_level ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Online everybody is a persona, low- and high-fidelity.
“The more we invest in our personae, the more present they become in our work—and the more our ‘usability culture’ begins to resemble an honest-to-goodness culture. Ultimately, I can envision a style of work that bears some resemblance to many traditional societies’ casual relationships with their pantheons, in which our personae influence most of what we do and crop up in our conversations, jokes, and collective memories.”
Sasha Akhavi /sasha-akhavi ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
We used to call these kinds of personas Living Personas.
“Over the years, many people have recognized that Personas can cause more problems than they solve. To fix this, designers began making Personas bigger and more rich. Some Personas can be 1-2 typed pages which meticulously describe attributes of these imaginary customers. Yet, no amount of colorful attributes can fill the gaps our brains will automatically fill when reading Personas. These missing gaps are the causalities which drove the customer to consume a particular product.”
Alan Klement a.k.a. @alanklement | /aklement ★ (courtesy of vanderbeeken)
‘Mutual exclusive’ sounds like taxonomy thinking. There’s one best to organize stuff.
“Role-based IAs increase cognitive effort and user anxiety. Clear language and mutually exclusive categories reduce the chance of harming the user experience.”
Katie W Sherwin a.k.a. /katiewsherwin | @kwsherwin ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
Anything you can use to stimulate your empathy.
“Crafting a design persona is an intense exercise that requires the the time and involvement of team members throughout your company. While the work may seem daunting, it is well worth it. By investing in your product’s design persona, you are investing in future advocates of your product—and creating a source of design inspiration for your team.”
(Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek a.k.a. @megak ~ A List Apart) ★
Empathy needs tools to grow. Personas are intended to do so.
“When based on user research, personas support user-centered design throughout a project’s lifecycle by making characteristics of key user segments more salient.”
(Aurora Bedford ~ Nielsen Norman Group) ★
Besides wireframes, prototypes and task maps, personas still remains one of the poster childs of UCD.
“How can designers create experiences that are custom tailored to people who are unlike themselves? As explained in part 1 of this series, an effective way to gain knowledge of, build empathy for and sharpen focus on users is to use a persona. This final part of the series will explain an effective method of creating a persona.”
(Shlomo Goltz a.k.a. @MoGoltz ~ Smashing Magazine)
Personas in the play of interacting with organizations, people and communities.”
“(…) I have come across many strategies and approaches to help increase the quality and consistency of my work, but none is more misunderstood or misused than the persona.”
(Shlomo Goltz a.k.a. @MoGoltz ~ UX magazine)
In the end, empathy will also have its limits for great design. But we’re not there yet.
“Empathy — it’s a buzzword in the UX design world. Everybody’s doing it! But what exactly are they doing? There isn’t a quick ‘Empathy Filter’ that we can apply to our work or our team, no formula to pump out results, and no magic words to bring it forth. There is, however, a simple workshop activity that you can facilitate with stakeholders (or anyone responsible for product development, really) to build empathy for your end users. We call it Persona Empathy Mapping.”
(Nikki Knox ~ Cooper Journal)
Credibility is still the element which defines its quality.
“Personas are essential when you are working on a project and don’t know the target audience very well. (…) Creating a model of your target audience may help you and your stakeholders feel significantly more empathy for those people.”
(Barnabas Nagy ~ Boxes and Arrows)
The customer is not who you think it is, shareholder, stakeholder or stockholder.
“(…) there was an unspoken goal to bring design thinking, gamestorming and traditional UX practices into the executive suite. We wanted to see how it would fare and how the team would react. It was our hope that this would give UX an even stronger foothold at the executive level then it enjoys today. Given the feedback received, the team enjoyed the exercise and saw value in it. Whether we’ll get invited back will be answered in time.”
(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie)
Extending the reach of personas to scenarios.
“User stories are one of the most popular alternatives to traditional user requirement specifications. But despite their promising name, user stories are not about – and don’t necessarily help – users at all. In most cases, user stories are written about roles that users adopt and take no account of the needs and behaviors of real users. Were that not indictment enough, user stories suffer from demonstrable flaws in structure and are often written by the wrong people at the wrong time. Here, I examine the background of user stories in their current form, highlight their failings, and propose a more appropriate alternative for the development of interactive systems: persona stories.”
(William Hudson ~ ACM Interactions Magazine November/December 2013)
The more data the document contains, the stronger the need for proper information design.
“UX deliverables had a rocky year so far. I feel particularly bad for the humble wireframe, which took some serious knocks over the past few months. There’s also a growing skepticism about the value of Personas. The Persona thing made me particularly uneasy because I’ve always been a huge fan, and we still start most of our projects with a workshop to define Personas and User Journeys.”
(Rian van der Merwe ~ Elezea)
Timeline forgets the very first personas for design: Henry Dreyfuss’ Joe and Josephine (1955).
“These steps (solid research, creative analysis, and compelling presentation and rollout) can bring teams back around to a tool that they badly need. Feel free to dump the shallow personas that people roll their eyes at. It’s time to reengage with empathetic work by making your users real, and letting their real voices be heard.”
(Kyra Edeker and Jan Moorman ~ UX Magazine)
They will always be a great starting point for the unknowns of empathy and UCD.
“There have been some who have proclaimed the impending demise of personas as a UX design approach since shortly after their introduction. While the optimal approach to creating and employing personas is still evolving—thanks to more useful data becoming available to design teams and new project-management methods—their usefulness has not yet diminished. If anything, personas have become even more useful because they put a human face on aggregated data and foster a user-centered design approach even within the context of efficiency-driven development processes.”
(Paul Bryan a.k.a. @paulbryan ~ UXmatters)
Personas going social. Next up: Mobinas.
“Creating Socionas seeks to address two questions: What do design teams need to understand about the social to develop products and services that delight users? And how can they build this understanding under the constraints of new product development practice?”
(Carolien Postma ~ Delft University of Technology IDStudiolab)
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)
Personas are great for any UX field, content strategy included.
“The most popular content strategy tools borrow from the discipline of information architecture, but there is one invaluable tool that is imperative to the process of strategy and implementation of tactics that we can thank our user experience cousins for: personas.”
(Kristina Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)