Special topic: Personas

At the heart of design are the stories that give meaning to the work. Andrew Hinton meditates on what stories have taught him about information architecture and the people inhabiting the places he’s helped design.

While the imaginary persona is helpful in the design process, a data-backed persona lends even more depth and focus to the development process. Andrea Wiggins reveals some effective ways to back up your personas with data easily available today.

Entertainment, education, and collaboration software is often used by two or more people simultaneously. Each of these groups has a different set of needs and expectations, and each can be modeled as a group persona, rather than as individual users.

Meg Hourihan, co-founder of Pyra – the company behind Blogger, shares her team’s experience in the discovery of Alan Cooper and the use of personas. Through their practical application, she tells the tale of how a product cycle was turned on its ear as the team discovered they weren’t anything like their users.

The way you communicate the personas and present your deliverables is key to ensuring consistency of vision. Without that consistency, you’ll spend far too much time arguing with your colleagues about who your users are rather than how to meet their needs.