April 27th, 2007
Leisa Reichelt has a nice write-up detailing the reasons why she thinks personas are vital to the user-centered design process. Leisa’s years of experience using personas have given her some insights into the benefits of personas that many people don’t often realize.
I particularly took away the idea of the Elastic User. This is where stakeholders make statements about what ‘users’ want, what ‘users’ do, what ‘users’ prefer, and because the ‘user’ in that context is so undefined and broad, they are able to say almost anything they like and there is no real way to contradict that opinion.
The creation of personas means that user groups are much more defined, so broad sweeping statements about what users want can actually be tested against something. Rather than having a free pass to do anything to the requirements or design by just using the word ‘user’, these assertions can now be tested and validated against more closely defined user characteristics and goals.
You can read Leisa’s full article here: Yes, you should be using personas.Tweet