Well, who are you? I really want to know. - The Who
Personas help to creates archetypes to gain perspective of the world through someone else’s eyes and experience. Personas are used to uncover insights of opportunity and limitation.
Personas can be used across a variety of projects - you may want to create personas to test hypotheses, to understand the users for your project, or even to personify a brand.
A good rule of thumb is to create personas with more complex needs, or limited capacity, as this will create a richer, more useful archetype: If you're able to meet the needs of someone with complex needs, then the solution will likely work for more people.
Note that Personas are not, and should not, be simply the real life story of people with a different name. Personas differ from user examples or case studies in that they are, by design and use, indicative and broad archetypes.
Although, scrutiny should always be used to ensure that stereotyping or marginalisation is avoided.
As few or as many personas can be created as needed for each project.
Two canvases are supplied below. The first helps to create and understand the Persona in general. The second aims to understand the Persona within a specific context.
Additional note: Want to take your Persona further? Draw them. Or, find an image to represent them. This should only be done after the worksheet is completed, and the quality of the image doesn't matter as much as its empathetic potential does. You could develop a fleshed out Persona on paper for a project and then build them out of odds and ends from around the office if need be. This will help to ensure the project team empathises and connects with their Personas.
Click here to download an A3 PDF version of the canvas.