This week’s tutorial focused on building personas according to sample data. We worked in groups of 4, took turns interviewing each other, shared findings, and ultimately used this data to construct a persona. Our scenario involved using public transit here in Sydney.

In my experience, interviewing 4 people does not provide enough data to create a robust persona. From our 4 interviews, we had the start of 3 different public transit personas. Key variables included frequency of travel, whether the individual was a ‘local’ or ‘visitor’, and perceived convenience, mostly related to the suburb where the individual lived. However, there was not enough commonality to be able to really trust the persona’s accuracy or use those personas to make product decisions.

Ideally, a persona would be a blend of 6-7 interviewees. In instances where enough data was not available upfront, I might construct a persona with data available and then run follow up research to further iterate and validate on the starting point.

Personas are a great tool in building empathy during the design and development process. In using personas at work, we refer to them by name and have spirited discussions around ‘whether Jane would actually do X’. It’s a great way to drive discussions and ensure your product or feature is being developed for the right audience. Additionally, personas can be used to construct scenarios and testing criteria.

[image coming soon once space is made available.]