UIEtips Article: Three Important Benefits of Personas

Jared Spool

May 22nd, 2007

UIEtips 5/22/07: Three Important Benefits of Personas

As part of our research to understand what techniques truly help teams produce better designs, we’re still constantly surprised by the number of teams successfully using personas. Teams report that using personas has increased the satisfaction of their users, producing more usable designs that better match the needs of their audience. We’re also hearing that using personas can reduce development time and keep costs down.

When teams use personas well, every member of the team really does seem to be on the same page about who the users are and what design will work best for them. We haven’t seen any other technique come close to getting this kind of result.

Our research has surfaced obvious benefits from the technique, such as better designer agreement on important features and an in-depth understanding of the user’s motivations. But, it’s also unveiled some benefits that we still don’t see discussed very much. In today’s UIEtips, we are republishing an article I wrote discussing some of these unrecognized benefits. I hope you enjoy it.

Read today’s UIEtips article.

As always, please share your thoughts with us. Has your design team created personas? What benefits have you seen? Join the discussion below.

[If you’re thinking your team could benefit from using personas, I highly recommend you consider attending Steve Mulder’s UIE Virtual Seminar this week covering the basics of how to create and utilize personas for your designs.]

One Response to “UIEtips Article: Three Important Benefits of Personas”

  1. Francois Aubin Says:

    Jarret, here is my personal view.

    I think we need to model user behaviour as best we can. I see personas as a way to share those models and as you mention a way to enhance story telling and role-playing. Personas is certainly better way than a HTA to communicate user model to a group especially non-experience designer.

    I also think like you the most important aspect, are not personas per se but having the right having user models or personas. You mention the feeding of the models or personas with frequent field study and I agree with you it is the key

    The story you describe about field technician where war stories exchange were the biggest contributor in their education is the key finding. It comes from observation and field study. Personas or not, what is important are those insight. They are crucial for design decision. In the case of field technician, those findings will suggest to encourage those informal gathering instead of forbidding them.

    In my experience, I use task analysis. I always say the essence in user modeling and task analysis is not the models or the representation but the insight coming from field study and observation.

    Personas are good mean but emphasis should always be kept on field study and observation.

Add a Comment