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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 14: Creating Useful Persona Profiles

Persona profiles are a representation of a digital product’s users. They are used to keep the user front and center throughout the design, development, and maintenance processes. A persona is a short, vivid description of a fictional character that represents a group of the product’s users.

Personas bring the product’s users to life in an easily understood, memorable, digestible, and sharable format. They help production teams to prioritize user needs and core tasks.

Alan Cooper introduced personas in his 1998 book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, as part of his goal-directed design methodology, describing user-centered design methods aimed at developers.

Why are Personas important?

A persona is a representation of the goals and behaviors of an actual group of users. They are derived from research with real users, so they have a strong grounding in fact. A set of persona profiles embodies a detailed understanding of real people.

A persona is a short description of a fictional character that illustrates a known group of a product’s users. The character is named, pictured, and given biographical details. Their behavior patterns, needs, and goals when interacting with the product are outlined. Although some of this detail is made up, the underlying data is based on real user research.

A good set of personas helps product teams empathize with their users. Digital production teams (with their bias towards young males) often have lifestyles ...

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