Why Personas Work: The Psychological Evidence

in The persona lifecycle: Keeping people in mind

Published by Morgan Kaufmann | 2006 | The persona lifecycle: Keeping people in mind edition

The power of personas to engage and inform team members was described in the introduction to this book. But why does engagement lead to better design? How do detailed pictures of fictional people contribute? How detailed should they be—are stereotypes enough? This chapter addresses the psychological foundations of persona use. It describes theories and findings that explain their effectiveness. We can use personas without understanding the underlying psychology. Alan Cooper has remarked on their “surprising” power without exploring the source of their effectiveness. But by understanding how they work we can design better personas, select appropriate complementary methods, and embed personas in effective processes.