PERSONAS

What is it

A descriptive model of a person (user, stakeholder, team member, etc), this tool is most often used to help a team define and understand the needs of its customer.

Why use it

  • Understand users’ needs, motivations, limitations, and capabilities.
  • Represent the full range of diversity among stakeholders, customers, or other groups.
  • Ensure the final product is something a human being will need or want.

When to use it

When exploring new ideas or potential applications.

Level

Intermediate

Outcome

Understand

Group Size

6+ people

Suggested Time

45+ minutes

Personas Worksheet

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How to do it

STEP 1

Assemble existing research into current or potential users.

STEP 2

As needed, add your own evidence and data to the existing research by observing, interviewing, and/or profiling potential users. Be sure the cohort of users you interview represent the full diversity of your user group.

STEP 3

Build a collection of user archetypes, based on various categories of users. Give each one a specific name (e.g., Acquisition Amy), rather than a generic title (e.g., Military Technologist), and ensure each Persona represents a unique use-case.

TIP: The most useful personas are specific, not general. For example, rather than creating a persona of a “military member,” specify the persona’s service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine), rank, specialty, level of experience, etc.

STEP 4

Add a stock photo or cartoon sketch of the described personas. You may want to add an invented quotation that summarizes a key issue, concern, or priority for the persona.

Benefits

A light-weight representation of a user / sponsor / stakeholder can help build empathy for the people who benefit from the work or are otherwise involved.

Challenges

  • Generally requires some research – interviews, surveys, observations, etc – to develop an accurate answers.
  • Users risk developing a superficial representation based on assumptions rather than data if they try to generate a Persona without research.

Need help using this tool with your team?

Questions?

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