Sunday, August 9, 2009

Creating Effective User Personas

I found creating personas to be quite challenging. So I looked around the web for other resources that might make it clearer or at least give a different perspective. I found one article by Lene Nielsen. The article gave 10 steps to use when creating usability personas. Please find the link below
I found this article to be helpful because it list steps to help guide you in developing your personas. I thought Cooper (Chapter 5 p 77 did a great job with this also. This article gives a different perspective of the step by step process for developing effective personas. One part that I found interesting in the article as opposed to Cooper is the verification step. This is where you find data to support your persona descriptions and scenarios. This made sense because when creating personas, you use the data collected to help get an idea of what your users are like. But is what you came up with correct? Or make sense? Even though article seems to be focus more on development as oppose to the “user”; I think you can pull different techniques and ideas from each process (Cooper and the article).


  1. I too am not used to creating persona but actually it worked well for myself to understand the system I was trying to design. It provided a context to which how a system would be working with users.

    I looked around some more info about persona after I read your post. I found this post from Suzy Thompson works at Cooper (yes, Alan Cooper's Firm).

    She listed a research about using persona improved superior design and good tips about why personas help designing effective system. One thing it stuck me the most from her post is...

    "While personas alone are useful in establishing a common understanding of who the users are, their true power is realized when they are put to work in scenarios."

    Persona also helped me communicate with others about my design ideas too. I imagined how my system idea, but also it was important that others understand where am I going with the ideas. Persona provided context to the system and a place to have discussions.

  2. I have used user personas at work when defining roles and use cases for our system. We have a Content Management System with complex content workflows that require users to complete part or all of the workflows. We have several user personas. Some examples are writers, copy editors, producers, video editors, graphics artists, and section editors. The last time we redefined our system we were able to interview, conduct surveys, and observe users to get a through understanding of their system role or user persona.


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