Wednesday, December 27, 2006

When Should You Use Personas?

Good discussions about the use of personas ...

"Over at the IxDA Discussion list, there’s been a interesting discussion about whether or not Personas are a good idea.

I think they are extremely useful, but not for all people in all situations. In specific, I’ve found personas to be very important under the following conditions:

1. The design team is an actual team, with more than a single individual working the entire process from ideation through implementation (and beyond).
2. The team members are different from their users (which is most of the time).
3. The team members do not have constant interaction directly with the users, particularly getting feedback on how the relevant artifacts are used.
4. Different users will interact with the artifacts differently because they have different intentions, context, knowledge, skills, or experience.

The well-executed persona description helps the team work “on the same page,” when it comes to understanding who their users are. It can eliminate the confusion and wasted efforts that come when team members are walking around with different ideas of who their users are. (See Yahoo’s Approach to Keeping Personas Alive.)

The well-executed persona description enables successful role-playing and story-telling for intra-team communication and for inter-group understanding of the design goals and objective. (See Three Important Benefits of Personas.)"    (Continued via UIE Brain Sparks)    [Usability Resources]

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