In this article Jonathan Grudin and John Pruitt discuss the concept of personas and scenarios. While Alan Cooper's personas are based on anecdotes and on appeals to reason, the authors argue for a more realistic approach. Personas should be based on real people and evolve in response to field studies, focus groups, interviews, observation, usability studies, and so on. This way, personas turn into a powerful means of communicating feedback from real people to the design team.
In their opinion, paticipatory design, which Grudin has been advocating for many years, is less effective in commercial mass-market product development, because finding representative participants is a challenge. But personas can bring the same level of engagement with users, empathy, and commitment to mass-market development projects.
- August 15, 2002