Historically, the concept of personas was introduced by Alan Cooper in 1999 in his The Inmates Are Running the Asylum as a practical interaction design tool (Cooper, 2008) that is deemed to provide focus for the product (Martin, 2010). Wang (2014) articulated that in order to improve the product, one must understand the users. Accordingly, this is where persona and user interface comes in.
Modeling personas help developers establish resilient user focus as it act as a constant reminder for whom one is and is not designing (Coorevits et al., 2016). Since it the designers are after of the product users, then it is but right to acknowledge that the domain of user experience (UX), including the interaction design requirements are prerequisites to support their work activity needs. Alongside the latter, functional requirements are also needed to ensure the usefulness component of the user experience (Hartson & Pyla, 2012).
Furthermore, Davis et al. (2006) highlighted that central to systems analysis and design process is requirements elicitation. In fact, it challenges analysts, users and procurers. In order to secure effectiveness in requirements elicitation, users and analysts need to be able to understand the nature of each other’s world. This probably originated from Moores et al. (2004) and Siau’s (1999) contention that some users have trouble expressing and identifying their needs so that communication negotiation (Browne & Ramesh, 2002; Kim & Peterson, 2001) and learning (Gaines, 2003; Lewis et al., 2004; Moores et al., 2004)) must be classified.
Definition and Description
Persona was conceptualized to deal with design issues (e.g. naming, visualization, and presentation). Apparently, the aforementioned issues could affect the customers if designers fail to classify user needs (Bartlome et al., 2010). According to Vincent and Blandford (2014), personas are representations of archetypal users. In user-centered designs and marketing, personas can be used interchangeably with user persona, customer persona, buyer persona, all evolving in the guise of fictitious characters representing certain user types who might use a site, brand, or product in similar ways (Lidwell et al., 2010).
As mentioned earlier, personas are user-centered design. In the same light, Compagnucci’s (n.d.) reinforced that user interface design puts the users at the heart of the process in the hope of creating better solutions to their needs. Thus, we can infer that personas are within the bounds of custom software development, specifically, user interface as it seeks to create useful yet engaging and user-friendly products (Intetics, 2017).
Pros and Cons
Understanding the reasons to support and reasons to oppose the utilization of personas is critical in adopting Cooper’s (1999) novel concept of persona which has been treading the path of empathy; Floyd, Jones, and Twidale’s (2008) persona-based design (PBD) which enables design teams to comprehensively express user-centered design issues and trade-offs; among other persona models. Thus, this tabular presentation is expected to aid us in substantiating the context of personas.