Personas are real people with changing needs

Nathan Lavertue
May 11, 2017 · 3 min read
Iterative man

persona (Latin) — mask, character played by an actor.

The word reflects the world of theater, and how those who take the stage become someone else. And, arguably and often controversially, those who do so the best are the ones who embrace not just the character’s role but also their emotions and inner thoughts — a method actor. There is a shared aspect to the method acting (or Stanislavski system) and the development of personas. Both are an application of evolution.

Isabel — our contemporary music listener
Amy — our country music listener
Sam — our news talk listener
James — our urban listener

During persona validation, the fourth activity, the group assigned to Amy included the client’s President of Insights, Research and Data Analytics. And they were having substantial concern assessing the persona. Mid-way through the activity, they bluntly expressed, “Amy is not a client of ours. Nor is she someone we’d market to.” As part of the validation activity, we modified the persona to guide discussion for the remainder of the day. It was clear the design team would need to evolve the persona following the workshop in collaboration with the client, reviewing new data research and further investigation with real users.

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

Nathan Lavertue

Written by

Global Experience Design Director @ibm_ix. Design, technology, music, hockey, snowboarding & motorcycles. Opinions are my own.

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM