UIEtips: 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects

Jared Spool

September 21st, 2011

I love red velvet cake. I’ve got a great recipe to make it. And I stick with that recipe.

I don’t decide to leave out the baking soda (even though I don’t really know what the baking soda does). Nor do I decide to cut the sugar in half (even though I think lots of sugar is probably bad for me). Why? Because if I did those things, the cake wouldn’t come out well.

This is exactly what we see teams do with their persona and scenario projects.

We see a lot of teams trying to create them. Building out solid personas is a great way to create innovative user experiences, when done well. Yet, many teams choose to sabotage their persona projects, producing something that doesn’t do the job and wastes valuable resources.

There are many recipes for great personas, yet the teams decide to take shortcut, skip steps, or just plain do something that doesn’t make sense. They don’t follow the recipe. Then they complain when the project doesn’t turn out well. And they lose the value that comes from a well-executed persona project.

In this today’s UIEtips, we explore five ways that teams we’ve studied sucked the value away from their persona projects. They seem like obvious things to do right, yet these teams opted to go another way, and then didn’t see the value they were hoping for.

Read the article, 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects.

At the User Interface 16 Conference, we’ll be exploring ways to get the most from your design projects, including persona techniques. Kim Goodwin will show us how to get huge value from creating great scenarios to drive our designs. And Steve Portigal will show us how to use field research to uncover insights and produce solid innovations. Check out UI16.

2 Responses to “UIEtips: 5 Ways To Suck Value Away From Your Persona Projects”

  1. Gail Swanson Says:

    These can easily be applied to all user research. There’s no point in learning about users if we block others from being exposed to what we learn. UXers need to let go of our illusion of control over our work and embrace a Coaching/Mentoring paradigm.

  2. tim nach Says:

    Absolutely brilliant post. One request I do have would be to see some actual solid personas developed from previous projects. As a young ux designer I’m constantly trying to get my agency to pick up this style and it would be great to give examples to them that hit home.

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