Re: [IxDA] Depicting Your Personas

22 Sep 2010 - 1:57pm
504 reads
Los Angeles IxDA
2008

If you use a photo of a person you know, characteristics of that person seep into the persona in ways that they shouldn't. This is also why I don't use a photo of a real interviewee (though I do take pictures to help me remember each person I talk to). If a real interviewee's picture gets used, the persona tends to be overshadowed by the characteristics of that one interviewee rather than being a composite archetype that represents the needs and goals of many users.
For this reason I use stock photos or photos from flickr but I try really had to choose photos that look like real people in real settings that match the person's environment.  For example, for a chemist persona I'd choose a real-looking scientist working in a lab, rather than a model in a lab coat making a funny face against a white background.
Personas are a tool. One way they function is to help designers (and sometimes stakeholders) develop an empathic connection to the real person who will use the thing you're designing. Therefore, it helps to use pictures of real-looking people with faces that inspire empathy. Not super attractive models, not stupid or ugly, just normal looking people.
Kind regards,

Angel Anderson
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IxDA Los Angeles Coordinator 
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Twitter: AngelAnderson

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