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What is a persona? There are variations to what we can create so lets have a look at some options.
A student persona named Jordan


Personas are a powerful storytelling device to help your stakeholders understand the users within your challenge. Once created personas can be used throughout the design thinking process – and even for other relevant studies.

What is a persona:

A fictional character, based on your research, which represents the different types of people who are impacted by the problem or opportunity you are focusing on.

Why use this method:

Personas will help you to understand the needs, motivations, goals, experiences and behaviours of the different types of people you are designing for. These can help you to better empathise with others, recognising the different needs and expectations that people have. They can help guide you through ideation and prototyping and are a powerful tool to help others (such as your industry partner or stakeholders) to connect with the users.

How to use this method:

  • This should be done in a group, after you have shared insights through the likes of an empathy map (see empathy map). Based on the knowledge and data you have collected, form a general idea of different users.
  • Decide the number of personas that will make sense to create, this should be more than one persona and they will be differentiated through having different needs and goals.
  • Describe the personas in a way so that others can empathise with them. You should include details about their interests, values, goals, needs, attitudes, patterns of behavior, their user experiences, both positive and negative.
  • Give your persona a name, a gender, an age and you could mention their lifestyle and education.
  • Test your personas with others to obtain their acceptance or challenges for your consideration, this could include testing it with stakeholders within the challenge and other users.


Persona Templates or Paper, flipchart or whiteboard, pens and markers

Tips from using in the field:

  • It is important to do this in a group, to gain a shared acceptance and recognition of the persona’s so they can become stronger tools to use through ideation, prototyping and testing.
  • Check that you are using direct quotes from the people you engaged with and observed for whom this persona is representing (this is to avoid stereotyping).
  • There are many templates online or you can create your own
  • Ensure they are written in a way that you can ‘share’ these with people and they feel drawn to them as though they are real people (can others imagine them).
  • Be careful of biassing your persona. The needs and motivations must be real (from your data) but then when you create the person part be careful that you don’t add your bias (e.g. are all your personas male, or from the same culture, or suddenly are environmentally friendly etc).

Search engine time again.

Search for persona templates and see which templates you find are best for you.
What are the common headings that all personas seem to have?

Post your findings in the comments below.

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