Persona Essentials

March 10, 2009
    There are a number of defining characteristics of personas:

  • Personas are hypothetical archetypes, or “stand-ins” for actual users that drive the decision making for interface design and functionality.
  • Personas are not real people, but they represent real people throughout the design and refinement processes.
  • Personas are not “made up”; they are ideally discovered as a by-product of the investigative process.
  • Although personas are imaginary, they are defined with rigor and precision. They unite teams around one shared vision of whom to design for and what they want.
  • Names, personal details, attitudes, behaviors and workspace stresses are developed for personas to make them more realistic.
  • Personas are defined by their goals (when visiting the intranet or portal).
  • Interfaces are built to satisfy personas’ information needs and goal-seeking and task-completion behaviors.

Original Source: Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, Indianapolis: Sams, 1999, pp. 123-24. (Wording condensed and modified, sourced from


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