Is one ‘persona’ ever enough?

08 Jun 2015

‘Personas’ are fictional characters representing amalgamations of user-groups. They offer bite-size insights into users; a way to empathise with clients without trawling through reams of impersonal data.

Though fictional, personas should be based on evidence from users.

A persona typically has a name (made up), a photo (not a real user), goals, a quote and further details, all written from this fictional person’s point of view.

Personas are very common in UX work. They’re also widely used in marketing.

Conventionally, 4-6 personas is considered about right.

In my latest UX project, I created just one. Can this be enough?

I created one persona because (a) personas were required for a specific IT system which was very simple in function, providing just one key solution to users; and (b) there was no evidence from users that there was more than one broad user group.

Though individual users varied (of course), I came to the conclusion that they were so similar that – in this particular case – multiple personas would have been arbitrary; I would have had to contrive them without basis from evidence.

Nevertheless, producing this single persona was a useful exercise: it condensed the users into a client-centric character. It was helpful to the IT team and others.

4-6 personas is a good rule of thumb, but, in this particular case, one was enough.

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