Today I read the Persona overview by Stefan Blomkvist. According to the paper, a persona is a fictional description of a single individual with a bit of made-up personality. As Prof. Duval already mentioned, “the user” is a blurred concept and we should never refer to it in design. Instead, we should use a very specific individual – a persona – and direct the design for this individual. The more specific, the more effective. It is important though that we don’t describe a real or an average user. A persona is always defined by her goals. About those goals Cooper says:

”The essence of good interaction design is devising interactions that let the users achieve their practical goals without violating their personal goals.”

The paper shows a good example. Others can easily be found elsewhere. More important, is that the paper contains a section about how to create them. It is not a complete, detailed process, but some helpful tips are given. For example, persona descriptions should consist of goals, skills, attitudes, environment and a few fictional personal details. Also, the behavior of several personas should not overlap.

We followed these principles when creating our personas, Riccardo and Elke. Go meet them!