Is persona useless?
I heard this a lot: "Persona is useless." But is it?
"Persona is useless."
I heard that argument a lot. But is it?
Early in my career, I used to think persona was useless. But I have a different view of it now. Especially after I transitioned as a product manager, I realize how important it is to prioritize who is your target audience.
I encourage a product manager or designer to build one. Persona is helpful because we always have limited time and resources to build a product. Here are a few notes to consider why persona can be beneficial:
1 - Persona helps your team to prioritize who to serve. (Tweet this) Did you know that Facebook started with a small audience—Harvard students? Tesla built their first car targeting the high-end market first because that makes sense for their business model. So, when building a product, you gotta focus on a specific segment first, and the persona helps you answer, okay from this various persona, who should we focus on?
2 - Persona should be lightweight and easy to maintain. (Tweet this) Just a bullet list, look how Gitlab and Office for National Statistics manifested their insight. You don't need a photo, no bar chart that's not helping you make the decision. Keep it simple.
3 - A bullshit persona is not the same as an insight-based persona. (Tweet this) Persona is simply an interpretation of reality. So, writing down the information based on your team's assumptions is not helpful. I prefer to use a persona as a tool to synthesize insights and understanding of the user.
4 - A lot of designers put a persona in their portfolio for no reason. (Tweet this) A lot of people grow resentful with persona because they see a lot of portfolios including a persona because the designer wants to ensure they apply “Design Thinking.” Yet, when they ask the designer how they use it, the designer can’t answer it properly. However, that doesn’t mean a persona is bad.