Developing Personas for Product Design

I am currently working on a Persona project to better define our target market and consumers. I have created fake personas before for portfolio work but this will be much more in depth. I have browsed over Amazon for books on Personas and developing them but was wondering if anyone on the board had any insight, examples, or recommendations.



interesting to hear you have created fake things for your portfolio… I wonder if there are any professional ethical issues with that.

the inmates are running the asylum is the book personas originate from to my understanding, you might try that.

fake as in the Name, Age, Location, stock photo, and Bio of my persona. This doesn’t mean that the research wasn’t done, the products show that it was, these are just place holders.

Perhaps I should have used a more appropriate word.

Thanks for the suggestion, Ill look into it.

I did purchase the following books:

The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design

The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web

Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services

A Designer’s Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need

Yeah, maybe, I guess I misunderstood the op. Definitely check out the cooper book, that is recognized as the origin of the persona as a design tool.

Just in case you are interested…
So generally when you do a persona, you were probably correct in not using a real name of a participant. The age doesn’t really need to be specific, you can list a range rather than one made up age in the middle of your demographic. The stock photo is appropriate too as long as it is specifically what you are looking for but sometimes a real participant is fine or better.

The bio is generally not going to be for one person, as a persona is not a profile of any individual, but a composite of your demographic, while not being the average.

I think the most important idea behind the persona and the point that most people miss, myself included when I started out, is that the persona is not an average of all users in a group, nor is it a specific person. It’s more like a representative of a subset within the group, and you can feel free to use real traits and quotes from actual participants that you feel are important.

THAT is the definitive book on how to create Personas from data. Kim Goodwin was president at Cooper (Alan Coopers design firm, the author of Inmates are Running the Asylum which first presented us with the Persona concept) and had more direct experience with the process of creating them than Alan.

Alan’s “About Face 3.0” also includes a Persona chapter, more detailed than Inmates but less than Digital Age.


can you elaborate more on your persona development process. I feel badly for calling you out on this one, but the persona you have described would be decidedly poor and I feel like you might be missing out on most of the advantages a good persona provides as a design tool.