Describing Personas
Indi Young

Hey Indi, Thanks for the article. It was thoroughly debated among my friends and at the company I work at. I agree that most of the demographic information you talked about is rarely important, and brings with it assumptions.

I had a follow-up question though. One of the benefits of personas is that they help you keep the human in mind when designing. Chris Noessel talks about how personas have to seem like real people to create the ‘intentional stance.

Your written personas did a great job of capturing the humanity of the behaviors, but it seems like it would be difficult to discuss them without having nicknames. These would likely become more descriptive and make the personas feel less real (and bring about the design stance). On the other hand, bringing in a name would bring with it assumptions of gender, race and age.

How do you balance these needs: keeping the persona feeling like a real human, but also not giving it a name that gives away too much demographic information?