Scenario development

Personas & Scenarios in the wild

It's been interesting over the last 6 months to notice personas escaping from the design team out into marketing. Not surprising, since personas largely derive from marketing's user archetypes. Sightings: MSN Personas and IBM print ad (thanks Brett), and the more scenario-focused Macromedia Central Portraits and Vodafone's Future Vision. Vodafone's piece isn't just about marketing - it's scenarios in the sense of prototyping the future. Most of the scenarios involve technology that only exists now as concepts or clunky kludged prototypes, not the polished integration of wearable, mobile communications into everyday life depicted in their scenarios.

One of the challenges of personas being more publicly visible is that clients or other departments may start building up preconceived ideas about how personas work, what they should include, and how they should be used. The marketing scenarios and personas shown above are all valuable, but don't have the level of detail required to make decisions about behavior. I'm not sure how well George Olsen's Persona Toolkit would be accepted by folks who already have set expectations about the deliverable and its usefulnes.

Know of more public personas? Drop a line in the comments...

Scenario Design Depends On Personas

If you have access to Forrester, this Forrester Brief talks about personas. This is targetted at clients or in-house teams more than design agencies or consultancies. Many firms still lack the critical user information necessary for successful Scenario Design. Companies that create design personas have the necessary foundation for crafting a great user experience.

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