How many of you read the title of my post as written, and how many of you sang the title of my post with the two different pronunciations? And, yes, I went with potato instead of tomato, because I like potatoes better than tomatoes.
I read this most excellent article about personas on the UX DesignEdge site, “Personas: Dead Yet?” by Everett McKay. It just showed up in my Twitter feed at the end of April, but I see that this article was originally published over 4 years ago in 2011. It just goes to show you that the good stuff just comes back around again.
In the end, McKay suggests that personas as overly long personal stories of target users is indeed dead. However, he suggests that a more streamlined, focused, and ultimately simpler persona remains, which he calls a user model. He recommends giving this target user a name, mostly because that was the only detail from the overly detailed persona descriptions that ever stuck with the rest of a development team, but then include a list of key facts relevant to the scenario – a bulleted list of short statements about this target user.
He also emphasized that as a UX designer you have to train your development team to really use personas to make design decisions and make them a part of your design process. Here, here. Long live the user model! I mean persona. You say persona, he says user model.