A persona is the representation of a virtual user, based on empirical data. The description includes a concise summary of characteristics of the user, their experience, goals and tasks, pain points, and environmental conditions. Personas describe the target users, giving a clear picture of how they're likely to use the system, and what they’ll expect from it.
The advantage of personas is a common understanding among the development team and the dissociation from each contributor's personal point of view. In contrast to alternative methods like lead user(s) (usually the developer him-/herself), a panel of real users or a description per sociological milieus, personas are more representative, faster to access, and easier to understand.
- Always define personas based empirical data. Feel free to ask the KDE user experience team (kde-usability at kde.org) for assistance with the collection of empirical data.
- Add enough information to establish a good impression of the target user, but do not write a novel and stay concise.
- Common elements are: name, job titles and major responsibilities, demographics such as age, education, ethnicity, and family status, goals and tasks they are trying to complete using the application, physical, social, and technological environment.
- Add a quote that sums up what matters most to the persona and a casual picture representing that user group.
- Discriminate between primary (the basic user) and secondary (additional users) persona. If it makes sense, describe the group of users that is explicitly not supported by a anti-persona. Respect the law of parsimony and have as few personas as possible.
- Make sure your persona can act in different scenarios.
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