The only two Personas you really need. Why designing for extremes allows us to use personas like a tool, not a trophy.
After years of slaving over personas driven by qualitative data, spending weeks in windowless “war rooms”, amidst a forest of post-its, I’ve begun to question: “What is the point of making Personas?”
Does the benefit outweigh the effort it takes to create them? Are they the best way to get a team to think about the people they are designing products for? I wonder if my client will use them, if they will quickly become irrelevant, if these carefully crafted personas will become a fleeting deliverable rather than a cherished tool.
When I think about the last time I used a persona to actually design something… I made it up on the spot, sketched it on a scrap of copy paper, thought through my designs from my persona’s perspective, and then made adjustments to my designs. I relied on what I’ve seen users do in the field on other projects and created a temporary lens through which to view my designs. It wasn’t fancy or official, but it worked pretty well. We should choose the right tool for the job at hand.
Personas have been placed on a pedestal. A shiny leave-behind to keep at the end of an engagement with a design consultancy; the stamp of UX approval. But the purpose of a persona is to be a tool, not a trophy.
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