Friday, May 2, 2008

Minimal personas

I wonder if there is some minimum set of information needed before you can really call something a "persona".

Do you need a "person name"? Do you need a photo? Do you need any non-domain personal information?

Obviously one of the challenges with personas is that they can be rejected by uber-geek developers on the grounds that they are egregiously cheesy. One way to avoid that is to remove the cheese. Replace the person name with a job title. Don't mention anything about how many cats they have. Include personal information that is directly related to the design of the product, like, "So-and-so clocks out at 5:00 sharp and whatever he's working on gets forwarded to the next shift," because obviously that might impact how easy it is to forward work.

But one of the goals of personas is to ease communication and make them more memorable by talking about a "real" person. Without the cheese, can this be done? Is it still a persona?

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