Franki Chamaki » Blog Archive » How do you create a personas?
How do you create a personas?

Step 1: Finding the Users:
The data can originate from several sources: interviews,  observations, second hand information, questionnaires, reports, cultural probes right through to ethnographic studies.


Step 2: Building a Hypothesis:
As you start to talk to people, users, customers, stakeholders, you start builld a proposal in your mind. You concern certain facts or observations and what they mean.  Building a Hypothes is entative comes from syntheisis of pattens and themes.


Step 3: Verification:
Here we are focus is on finding data that supports the initial patterns and at the same time supports the personas descriptions and the scenario we are thinking of.  Verification is a reality check. When these data are collected, we ask yourself whether do they then support or go against the initial data or hypothesis.


Step 4: Finding Patterns: 
Once you have collected raw data from your sources (eg obversation, interviews etc), we start to categorize them.  I good way is via affinity diagram.  The techinque helps make sense of data.


Step 5: Constructing Personas:
Once you complete your affinity analysis and group data together, you start to notice distinct charaterics. For example, of the 16 interviews you
conducted, you start to see a person that has elements is “Ambitious”, likes to “Works the system” , “expects to be rewarded for loyalty” and “Doesnt trust advice”.
Once you formed these elements you build a ‘body’ (ie a photo of how this person would look) demographics information, background (education, upbringing which influence our
abilities), Emotions and attitudes and Personal traits.


Persona to work very well need to capture not only what a person ‘Says’, ‘Do’ or ‘Think’  but what they are ‘feeling’.


Persona Construction is about discovering, understanding and recording peoples behavour, feelings and philosophies.


Step 6: Defining Situations: 
This step is a preparation for the scenarios where it is described in which situations the persona will use the system/site/service or which needs the persona has that will lead to a use situation.


Step 7: Validation and Buy-in:
This is very important step especially with large corprate orginsation. By asking everybody their opinion and let them participate in the process ensure better buy-in and use. We dont want to be in a sitution we are asking:


  • “ What functionality should the app provide?”
  • “ What if the user needs to …?”
  • “ Someone may want to …”
  • “ The system needs these data elements to complete the function.”

Rather you should be asking:


  • “ What functionality should the app provide?” to “ Which user goals should this app support?”
  • ” What if the user needs to …?” to “ What is Alice’s primary goal in this scenario?”
  • “ Someone may want to …” to  “ How important is it for Alice to…?”
  • “ The system needs these data elements to complete the function.”  to “ How can we make it easier for Alice to log this event?

Step 8: Dissemination of Knowledge:
Like Step 7, Persona need buy-in and the better you show your stakeholders how and why these are important design tool, the better usage.  To do this requires you to communicate to them. Many projects forget to inform and teach developers and designers how to use the personas, how to think in scenarios or how to use them in the use-cases.


Do you know if Step 7 and 8are done?  Once all stakeholders really empathize with your persona –  that is they can really imagine what it he or she is feeling inside.


Step 9: Creating Scenarios: 
Scenario or pathway is used to run or apply your persona through.  It is here where your persona becomes most valuable. A scenario is like a story, it has a main character (the persona) a setting (somewhere the action takes place), it has a goal (what the persona wants to achieve), it has actions that lead to the goal (interactions with the system/site/device), and assoicated obstacles that blocks their way to completing their goal.


Step 10: Ongoing Development: 
Life keeps changing and so to Personas.  Persona should be revisited to ensure its in touch with reality.  Ideally, if Persona(s) require change step 7 and 8 need to be repeated.