Personas in design

Personas are for designing products, services, and systems.

This was the key message of Dorenda Britten from designindustry Limited.

We must use 3-5 fictional personas, each with a name, an age, a job, some background and then a lot of thought about how they will use, choose, or buy the product / service / etc.

Highlights of Dorenda's presentation were...

Personas are not just for software design

Dorenda has used personas for designing products, designing hospital services, and designing taxation services. Her mini-case study was using personas for designing the layout, service, and ambience of a new cafe.

Personas are not just direct users

You need to design a product or service around the people who will use it - but you also need to cover the people who choose your thing - and those who pay the bills. And not forgetting the whole distribution chain - wholesalers and retailers.

Personas are future users

Dorenda emphasised that personas need to look forward into the future - not just what people have done in the past. This will be paramount in innovative products and services - and where mature things are being sold or deployed in new ways.

Walking the talk

(Geek: "eating your own dogfood".)
She explained how she and her team regularly review their organisation itself using personas and other tools.


Dorenda was speaking at the monthly Geeks and Suits event hosted by the Canterbury Software Cluster.