16 February 2006

The Persona Lifecycle: a field guide for interaction designers

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The Persona Lifecycle, First Edition : Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design

The Persona Lifecycle (AmazonElsevier) addresses the “how” of creating effective personas and using those personas to design products that people love. It doesn’t just describe the value of personas; it offers
detailed techniques and tools related to planning, creating, communicating, and using personas to create great product designs. Moreover, it provides rich examples, samples, and illustrations to imitate and model. Perhaps most importantly, it positions personas not as a panacea, but as a method used to complement other user-centered design (UCD) techniques including scenario-based design, cognitive walkthroughs and user testing.

John Pruitt is the Usability Lead of the User Experience Team at Microsoft Corporation. Tamara Adlin is a Customer Experience Manager at Amazon.com. For the past six years, John and Tamara have been researching and using personas, leading workshops, and teaching courses
at professional conferences and universities. They developed the Persona Lifecycle model to communicate the value and practical application of personas to product design and development professionals.

Chapter 1 – The Next Frontier for User-Centered Design: Making User Representations More Usable
Chapter 2 – The Persona Lifecycle: A framework for the persona approach
Chapter 3 – Phase 1: Family Planning (planning a persona effort)
Chapter 4 – Phase 2: Conception & Gestation (creating personas)
Chapter 5 – Phase 3: Birth & Maturation (launching and communicating personas)
Chapter 6 – Phase 4: Adulthood (using personas)
Chapter 7 – Phase 5: Lifetime Achievement and Retirement (ROI and reuse of personas)

Contributed Chapters:
Chapter 8 – Users, roles and personas (by Larry Constantine)
Chapter 9 – Storytelling and narrative (by Whitney Quesenbery)
Chapter 10 – Reality and Design Maps (by Tamara Adlin & Holly Jamesen)
Chapter 11 – Marketing versus design personas (by Bob Barlow-Busch)
Chapter 12 – Why personas work: The psychological evidence (by Jonathan Grudin)

Appendix A- Example Personas
Appendix B- Sample Image Release Form

Related materials

Personas: Practice and Theory (Word document, 644 kb, 15 pages)
Pruitt, John and Grudin, Jonathan, Microsoft (2003)

Personas, Participatory Design and Product Development: An Infrastructure for Engagement (Word document, 208 kb, 8 pages)
Grudin, Jonathan and Pruitt, John, Microsoft (2002)

Interview with John Pruitt (Channel 9 Forum)

(via John Morales of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford)

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