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Coming from a design school where the curriculum was very focused on design research, I've come to understand how important personae (really? is that the plural? huh...) can be in a design. However, I do feel that it has become a "buzz" design idea, of sorts, much like the other fun "buzz" idea of "sustainability". Much like how many corporations jump on the "green" bandwagon, creating a persona for a product has also come into the mainstream marketing of said product. As I was taught, and many other young designers, a persona is not simply "made up", but it is indeed based on something/someone that is real, based on users and their actions; designers need to watch real people, study their actions, figure out what's going on in their head.

Creating a swoopy dash because "Antonella cares more about the design and function of her telephone than that of her car", and not getting actual feedback from real users is as irresponsible design-wise as saying "This product is sustainable because it uses recycled materials."

Honestly, I support persona use in design. But it's only a small part of the big equation; you can never ignore real users and their feedback.

Robin Brown

I've used personae in developing websites before under the direction of others and found them rather problematic. Even though derived from real user data, I think there are big issues with selection and interpretation of that data, whether conscious or subconscious.

Simply, I believe that you'll end up with a very close approximation of what you were planning to do anyway, and are likely to sculpt personae to fit these pre-conceived ideas.

All of which kinda begs the question 'which came first?'. And secondly, is it just a bit of marketing gimmickry?

There's a term for all this I can't bloody well remember...

Drew Smith

Having just watched, listened and presented at a user experience conference (shout out to the UXAustralia mob!), it was interesting to see the range of responses to the use of personae in the UX arena. People were, for the most part, pretty disparaging because personae represent the idealised, or indeed, idolised customer whose constituent character traits and tastes have been picked at will from endless reams of market stats.

The real-world value? Almost nil according to some attendees because these creations give designers no real insight into the actual lives and minds of the people they're designing for. One answer? Sending designers out with an ethnographic toolkit to gain the insights for themselves...

San Fernando Valley Ford

Marketing seems pretty strange though; I never pictured the demographic for the Fiesta to be a 28 year old woman who loves clubbing. I always thought the Fiesta was more of a sedate car for older folks or a family perhaps or maybe for a college student. This could be true in Europe (or Rome in this case) but not necessarily in the United States. 28 year old single women in the U.S prefer to drive something a tad more upscale usually like BMW.

However, I do love the backlit instruments in the Fiesta (from the photo) and in hot pink no less!

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