5 Secrets to Building Great Personas

Published on 11 Feb, 2016 by Stina Vanhoof

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The secrets of using personas 

Personas are a great tool for stimulating people-centered thinking throughout the whole design process. It’s a way of giving your target groups a face and make them come alive in your organisation. Over the years personas have become one of those service design buzzwords and became really popular, which they totally deserve, if and when used right. 

Here are 5 of our secrets to successfully implement personas: 


1. It’s a co-creative process 

Creating persona’s should be a co-creative process. We do this together with people from the organisation we are working with. They are the ones working for their users/clients day-in day-out. It’s crucial they can empathise with them and this can only happen when they creating the persona's themselves. We as designers should facilitate this process. 

Persona workshop with neoScores, we sat together for a whole day with their CEO, CTO, CCO and designers to shape their persona's. 

2. Base them on qualitative research

Don’t just start from scratch. Before you start building up a persona make sure you spoke to some users and translate these insights into persona’s. Don’t understand me wrong, not all persona information should be based on research results, but your inspiration should be from the right people. 

Video with insights from interviews with musicians. Used at the start of the persona workshop for neoScores to inspire the people-centered thinking

3. Templates, templates, templates 

When building a persona, think beforehand what kind of information will be crucial throughout your design process. Bring this together in a template you fill in for each persona. These templates should be different for every project! 

Presenting the filled out persona template during the persona workshop for Herita

4. Making persona’s tangible

Turn your persona’s into usable artefacts. Don’t let them disappear into a pile of paper or a folder on your computer, they will slowly disappear from your memory. Create a visual outcome that can be referred to throughout the design process. Something that can be touched and pointed towards.


5. Make it fun

Creating and using personas is fun. You can build up your own stories and shape a persons life. Don't forget to have fun with this! 

A fun workshop excercise with neoScores
For more secrets on our design process check our other Arena posts

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