November 25

What is the core of a persona?

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A persona is the personified representation of a user or client group. Within design thinking this persona will be centered around coherent need-statements. The persona as method has initially been developed in marketing where personas were initially used as representations of demographic segments (e.g.: personas called "dinks" - double income no kids etc.). Persona´s in design thinking are distinctively different because they are not built around demographic or socio-economic attributes but around needs - the design thinking persona does not represent the 32-Year old married woman, but represents people who need something, e.g. sth. they can consume with one hand and without getting their hands dirty, while strolling the textile market (because they are not only hungry/thirsty, but also want to touch the textiles and can't do that with occupied or dirty hands).

“A design thinking persona is the personified representation of a need-statement.”

We might put a name and face and age and family background to the persona, that represents all these people, because that will make it easier to relate to the need-statement in the process of designing a solution that fits their need-statement. But the common characteristic is not the age or marital status - Imagine the following two persons:

  1. 1
    Clean-free-hand-hungry Fred: He is single and barely 19-Years old
  2. 2
    Clean-free-hand-thirsty Veronica: She is 75-Years old, widowed and proud grandma of 8 grandchildren

You might have both of them, Fred and Veronica represented by the same persona. You might decide to depict this persona as a 35-Years old pan-sexual transvestite in an open relationship. Why can the 35-Year old represent both the teen and the granny? Because it´s not about age or marital status, the persona is centered around the clean-free-hand-hungry-&-thirsty-need-statement.

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