Daniel asked me to post this in Users as well:
Wanted to let everyone know I will be starting a persona working group for
the ‘Foretello’ project. It has become clear through attempting to write
requirements and evolving features that personas are critical for a
successful user experience. It is a big job, but we can no longer put it
off. I will be sending status updates over time and will be looking for
feedback. I’m looking for volunteers to help. Any amount of time is great.
A few answers to your questions:
What is a Persona -
A persona is tool used to define a targeted user class. The personas often
are bubbled up to a few paragraphs summary defining a particular user that
is easily reference-able later. There are often 3-5 personas for an
application. Many other applications have already built and rely on them.
Why do we need it -
Personas are the building block for all user centered application design.
Personas are what we should be building features against. If we don’t use
these to inform the current and future features we will miss the users
expectations. This also helps avoid going back and correcting mistakes due
to previous user assumptions. These will be helpful for everyone to
reference in the future.
How are they made -
These are constructed by doing ~20-25 interviews with targeted users to
develop the baseline. These users are recruited through surveys designed
for specific user communities. We then aggregate the data and group it into
user classes. These then become the personas. This process takes 1-2
months. For each person that helps in the process it removes a few weeks
from the delivery time. It is a big job.
For more detailed information about personas -