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Framework #08

Personas

Angus Jenkinson (1993) and Alan Cooper (1999)

What does it mean?

Personas are described as real people and give a clearer picture of how they’re likely to use a tool/platform/process and what they will expect from it. The purpose of using personas is that they have been born from wider audience analysis and, once they have been written, there is no requirement to refer back to the wider audience groups as the personas contain all the objectives.

Overall, they paint a multidimensional picture of the audience in terms that allow the design team to evaluate the effectiveness of the concept, interface and design.


Why do we believe it's important?

Personas are important for three key reasons:

  1. They remove the ambiguous nature of people commenting “I think our users will want this” and instead create a focus around the personas (e.g. “Would Iain know how to allocate a task to Sam?”). It helps organisations move away from Job Titles, opinions and how things are done today, and allows them to consider new ways of working
  2. They are particularly powerful during the upfront strategy phase (Phase 0), as they provide a way to explain problems from different perspectives, and helps us to reframe and define the problem to ensure we identify the best way forward
  3. Establishing Personas early accelerates future experimentation, design and build phases - allowing organisations to see results fast


How do we put it into practice?

For a Pharmaceutical services provider, we used Personas to help the organisation understand the different pain points across departments, as failure to see this across the organisation objectively was constraining their break out potential. It helped employees understand how their pain points related to the overall puzzle and allowed them to design together new tools and processes to support growth. This was combined with the Job To Be Done framework, which expressed desired outcomes of each Persona and allowed the client to ensure the target solution was complete.

 

Sources: Angus Jenkinson (1993) & Alan Cooper “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” (1999)

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