Persona Alchemy: What we learned bringing user personas to life

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A user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Today, we take two of those fictional representations and bring them to life.

Mike Belsito has ventured out to find several real life personas, interview them and bring you what we've found. How accurate are our personas? What are we often missing from them that would help us build better products?

A persona typically has a name, a picture, relevant characteristics such as age or income group, behavioural traits, common tasks, and a goal that describes the problem the persona wants to see solved or the benefit the character wants to achieve. This information is traditionally based on direct observation, interviews, and other qualitative market research.

Personas should help you develop empathy for your users and customers. They encourage you to embrace a user-centred approach: Putting the users first, and building a product that that truly benefits them. This avoids the fallacy of a solution-centric approach: worrying more about the product and its features and technologies than the reason people would want to buy and use it in the first place.

Alan Cooper pioneered personas in product development in the 1990ies. Today every product manager and product owner should be able to create and work with personas.

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