Notes on Are Personas Past Their Prime? (aka towards more-Agile and more-Lean personas)

From a post by David Travis on, link here. This only focuses on about half the article, check out the whole thing!

The traditional persona has lost much of its power

  • As team move to Agile and Lean, they don’t believe personas created before the development process hold that much validity
  • Teams are working more and more with actual users and seeing how off-base personas can be
  • Many teams make up personas out of thin air, not user research, thus totally undermining the persona’s purpose–they’re still just opinion
  • Personas got Marketed–they were given silly one-dimensional names (Milly the Value Lover) and tied to money, demos and business (and subjected to the horror that is stock photography) rather than user behavior (emphasis mine)

The 2-1/2 D Sketch

  • (2-1/2 D refers to the concept that the eye doesn’t see entire objects in 3D all at once and “fills in” the missing bits with assumptions)
  • Split a piece of paper, whiteboard etc into 4 quadrants
    • Label the top-left User Type and sketch that user and one of their thoughts
    • Label bottom-left Facts and attach single facts (age, gender etc) as individual Post Its
    • Label top-right Behaviors and add Post Its with what users want to do with the product, what do they currently do that’s related to the product etc
    • Label bottom-right Needs and Goals and add Post Its for how users want to feel while using the product, what they want to achieve, what their deeper drives and motivations are etc
  • That’s it! Lo fi personas. Easy to hang on the wall and update in a matter of seconds.
  • And no terrible stock photos!

From the site: Dr. David Travis (@userfocus on Twitter) holds a BSc and a PhD in Psychology and he is a Chartered Psychologist. He has worked in the fields of human factors, usability and user experience since 1989 and has published two books on usability. David helps both large firms and start ups connect with their customers and bring business ideas to market. If you like his articles, you’ll love his online user experience training course.


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