Recently we were asked for advice on how to create good personas for design and research. As we sat down to discuss the highs and lows of our work over the past decade, we realized that we our best persona work was packed with interesting detail, while our less-than-inspiring examples were shallow or stereotypical. Remembering our low points brought back a few painful memories, but it helped us put together six principles that will ensure we never create a bad persona again:

  1. Make it stereotypical
  2. Make it static
  3. Feel comfortable
  4. Speak generically
  5. Lack detail
  6. Match it to segmentation

Every team uses personas a little differently, but we believe that personas are most effective when focused on inspiring design ideas through the lens of boundary-pushing users. Personas create empathy through the story of a single person, temporarily suspending the complexity of other forms of consumer research so that design teams can focus on generating lots of innovative ideas. Check out the whole article on Product Design Hub or check out the Slideshare version.