Assuming a Different Persona

Red Lady

In the book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum (aff), author Alan Cooper put the idea of personas into the mainstream.  The basic concept is creating fictional people that are typical users.  This is done prior to creating Use Cases–and those Use Cases should be created with help of the personas.

How does one come up with personas?

Defining Personas

The first step is to identify the types of people that will be using the system.  We want to understand who the people are, their skill sets and their background.  We’re interested in figuring out the typical user with distinct views. 1

What is a Persona?

A persona is not a Use Case, it’s not the generalization of a function of your software.  It’s writing a short biography of a fictional person that is like your users.  It can be just a few paragraphs, but it attaches a name to your users for design decisions.

You can find examples of Personas at:

Why Use Personas?

Personas help to determine what interface elements will help your users the most.  They also help to solve the disputes between different ways to implement the solution, since different people will interface with systems in different ways.  It will help developers look at a specific solution that is not them.

Further Reading

The Origin of Personas

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  1. For more on defining personas see How To Create Personas for Goal Driven Development. []

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