Persona Non Grata (17 Aug 2005)
Ever since Alan Cooper’s 1999 book The Inmates are Running The Asylum was published, everyone is mad for personas. They’ve permeated the highest and deepest levels of organizations, and have become a standard interaction design tool. Whole projects are now built around creating them, and there’s a feeling that once you get a half dozen or so, your design problems will be solved. Presumably, your personas solve them for you.
In case you haven’t been in the same design and business bubble that I’ve been living in ‘lo these many years, personas are a documented set of archetypal users who are involved with a product, typically the product’s users. Each persona has a name and a picture. They’re supposed to give designers a sense that they are designing for specific people, not just generic, ill-defined users.
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