Personas (was Re: Powerpoint vs. "regular"

26 Jan 2005 - 4:49pm
799 reads
Tom Hobbs

> Now you've just nuked 99% of the design possibilities as I will focus
> on a specific person, even if that person I hand picked for my own
> personal research.

"Paradoxically, when analyzed, the most ubiquitous designs in history
tend to have been designed with a specific individual in mind"
Shiro Nakamura

Personas should be produced by designers to show they visually
understand the research and what that means in to the visual context of
the user. Personas need to be both a concise set of words (sentences)
and visuals (the more concise the less definitively they tend to be
used.) There could be possibly be two/three directions from one set of
research data initially. Probably should be.

Personas need to describe one or two typical individuals, not be
hybrids of a few people to become a 'super, this person could never
exist' entity.

Personas should provide 'mood' and personality, not specific customer
profiles. They should be inspirational to create (inferring they are
'creative') and to refer to.

They are probably more relevant describing what the design can't be as
much as they suggest what it should be.

Persona's are not a not a yard stick to put and say "the design must be
EXACTLY this", but it needs to start from here. And needs to be
discussed in relation to this starting point throughout the process.

Personas are one of many tools to position the problem amongst team
members — to give a basis for discussion and provide some of context to
understand how a solution is to be/was developed.

If a persona is cliche, generalization or derogatory, like 'soccer
mom', then it is useless because it is bland. It has too much baggage —
every team member will have formed a picture of what that looks like to
them whether there is a picture associated to the persona or not. This
in itself will destroy 99% of design possibilities. This is a problem
with nomenclature or team members or lack of creative understanding,
not personas.

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