Persona Names

21 May 2008 - 8:30pm
6 years ago
7 replies
3991 reads
Matthew Zuckman
2008

I am running a persona workshop with our client partners to flesh out
some of the behavioral aspects. As part of a "fun" exercise, we would
like to have persona naming as part of the event. Normally, when I
pick names, I make up something based on my IM list, mashups of TV
characters from shows I watched recently, or something along those
lines.

Does anyone have a process in place (or ideas) for how our group might
choose names collaboratively?

Thanks,

Matthew Zuckman

Comments

21 May 2008 - 9:22pm
Todd Moy
2007

Matt,

If you have established the ages and genders, you could provide the group a
list of popular names for each persona's year of birth. A quick googling
turned up this page from the Social Security Administration: <
http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/>

-Todd
____________________________
http://www.oombrella.com
oombrella /a/ gmail.com

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 10:30 PM, Matthew Zuckman <matt at blueorange.com>
wrote:

> I am running a persona workshop with our client partners to flesh out some
> of the behavioral aspects. As part of a "fun" exercise, we would like to
> have persona naming as part of the event. Normally, when I pick names, I
> make up something based on my IM list, mashups of TV characters from shows I
> watched recently, or something along those lines.
>
> Does anyone have a process in place (or ideas) for how our group might
> choose names collaboratively?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Matthew Zuckman
>
>

22 May 2008 - 1:12am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

Hi Matthew

In 2004, I wrote a piece on places to choose names:.
http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article1739.asp

It seems to have suffered a little from linkrot, but most of the links are still active. My basic idea was that names do suggest
ages so you could pick a set of names that reflect the age of the persona.

Caroline Jarrett
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk

:I am running a persona workshop with our client partners to flesh out
: some of the behavioral aspects. As part of a "fun" exercise, we would
: like to have persona naming as part of the event. Normally, when I
: pick names, I make up something based on my IM list, mashups of TV
: characters from shows I watched recently, or something along those
: lines.
:
: Does anyone have a process in place (or ideas) for how our group might
: choose names collaboratively?
:
: Thanks,
:
: Matthew Zuckman

22 May 2008 - 8:25am
lachica
2006

Here's a handy tool to check when names were most popular. For example, type
in Judith and you'll see a huge spike in the 1940s so that would be a great
name for a persona in her 60s:

http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

Cheers,
Julie

On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 2:12 AM, Caroline Jarrett <
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk> wrote:

> Hi Matthew
>
> In 2004, I wrote a piece on places to choose names:.
> http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article1739.asp
>
> It seems to have suffered a little from linkrot, but most of the links are
> still active. My basic idea was that names do suggest
> ages so you could pick a set of names that reflect the age of the persona.
>
> Caroline Jarrett
> caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
>
> :I am running a persona workshop with our client partners to flesh out
> : some of the behavioral aspects. As part of a "fun" exercise, we would
> : like to have persona naming as part of the event. Normally, when I
> : pick names, I make up something based on my IM list, mashups of TV
> : characters from shows I watched recently, or something along those
> : lines.
> :
> : Does anyone have a process in place (or ideas) for how our group might
> : choose names collaboratively?
> :
> : Thanks,
> :
> : Matthew Zuckman
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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23 May 2008 - 7:46am
Rob Nero
2005

The following is how our persona lead-person created the names for our
personas. I thought it was quite extensive and interesting, especially for
something as simple as a name...

First, you must have a completed persona (or close to completed). Names
should be added last...you can refer to your persona by title until you have
a name.

Next, based on the information that you collect for your persona,
specifically, your persona's age (you may also need to look at your personas
ethic background), conduct a search online to find out popular first names
within 2-3 years of your personas age. Baby name sites are always good ways
to find this information out. I use http://www.parents.com/babynames/
because there is an option to enter a year and it brings back popular names
for a specific year, but there may be other sites out there.

After you've establish a pool popular first names for the age of your
persona, then you can explore popular last names. It's difficult to find
this information out by year, but you can do by country. I've used Wikipedia
to do this, specifically, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_name.

Once you have a pool of popular first and last names, the fun begins. From
this pool, you can use other information that you've determined about your
persona such as sex, ethic background, country, etc. to determine your
persona's name.

I've typically done this research before entering a person creation meeting
and allowed others to help choose the name from the pool of first and last
names. This creates buy in from stakeholders with a clear rational for
naming...and it's just plain old fun.

26 May 2008 - 7:48am
Jeff Stevenson
2007

My preference for personas is to use a "last name" that isn't a
name at all. Instead, I use a one or two word description of the
person. For example, I'm working on a recipe site that has 3
personas:
- Ann the Aspiring Family Cook
- Rita the Reluctant Cook
- Patty the Passionate Cook

My experience was that, by replacing the last names with
descriptions, we made the personas easier to understand and more
memorable, both for our internal team and our client.

Plus, it's a real struggle to choose meaningful last names! Most
last names convey a nationality, and (at least for the projects I've
worked on), nationality wasn't a factor in what made the persona.

"Rita Johnson" doesn't tell me much, except perhaps that Rita
could be anyone. "Rita the Reluctant Cook" suggests her attitude
toward cooking, which was the main factor that made these personas
different.

For first names, I agree with others on this list that you can start
by choosing a name that was popular around the time the persona was
born. My favorite tool is the same one Julie mentioned at Baby Name
Wizard:
http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 May 2008 - 2:40am
Formulate
2007

I use the names of characters from the books that I am reading. For
example, when I was reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, I
had a Lucy Dickens and a Tony Copperfield (or something like that).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 May 2008 - 7:43am
Anonymous

I have created personas (and their names for several companies) and I
always try to come up with last names that provide a one word insight
into the persona. For example, I recently created personas for our suite
of products and the names were:

Joe Gottagrow (he's the customer who really wants to concentrate on
growing his business)
Mary Whereto (She's not quite sure where she is going)
Sigmund Freundlich (A over analytic numbers person working for a large
company)

The names serve the same purpose as "Ann the aspiring Cook" but I like
playing with words so I create artificial last names!

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jeff Stevenson
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2008 2:49 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Persona Names

My preference for personas is to use a "last name" that isn't a
name at all. Instead, I use a one or two word description of the
person. For example, I'm working on a recipe site that has 3
personas:
- Ann the Aspiring Family Cook
- Rita the Reluctant Cook
- Patty the Passionate Cook

My experience was that, by replacing the last names with
descriptions, we made the personas easier to understand and more
memorable, both for our internal team and our client.

Plus, it's a real struggle to choose meaningful last names! Most
last names convey a nationality, and (at least for the projects I've
worked on), nationality wasn't a factor in what made the persona.

"Rita Johnson" doesn't tell me much, except perhaps that Rita
could be anyone. "Rita the Reluctant Cook" suggests her attitude
toward cooking, which was the main factor that made these personas
different.

For first names, I agree with others on this list that you can start
by choosing a name that was popular around the time the persona was
born. My favorite tool is the same one Julie mentioned at Baby Name
Wizard:
http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29319

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