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RE: [agile-usability] alternatives to user roles or personas

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  • Joshua Seiden
    ... function as ... persona (Cooper ... simple model to ... use. We don t have ... legitimate personas. Jeff, I sometimes use provisional personas in this
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 10, 2004
      > Does anyone have any pointers to models that can
      function as
      > alternatives to a user role (C&L U-CD style) or a
      persona (Cooper
      > style)?
      > For the work I'm doing today, we need some sort of
      simple model to
      > contain the user, their goals, and the context of
      use. We don't have
      > enough data to produce what I believe to be
      legitimate personas.


      I sometimes use "provisional personas" in this
      situation. This is a technique from Cooper. Provisional
      personas use the basic persona framework, but are based
      on a data mix that is leaner on fact and richer on

      The technique is nearly the same, but provisional
      personas are always illustrated with drawings or
      caricatures, rather than photos. They also tend to be
      expressed in bullet points, rather than delightful and
      evocative prose.

      It also takes some skill to use provisional
      personas--you need the experience to know when to trust
      your models and when to disregard their unreliable

      The value is that you have a defined target. (Any
      target is better than no target.) The risk is that the
      target can be wrong.

      The other risk is that even provisional personas take
      on a life of their own; they tend to survive beyond
      their useful life. If you're not careful, you can find
      yourself making decisions based on your original flawed
      assumptions--even after better learning comes in. This
      is why it's a good idea to plan to kill off your
      provisional personas and start fresh when real research

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