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Key Concepts


The team crafts synthetic biographies of fictitious users of the future product: these are called “personas.”


Personas provide designers and developers with an anchor for justifying design choices: rather than appeal to vague notions of “ease of use”, they suggest questions of “what Amanda would do” or “whether Bob will understand” a given feature, interaction, or visual cue.

Because personas are part of the team’s shared assumptions, each team member is made aware of the consequences of design choices. Knowing that the product will be used by “Eileen, 72, retired”, a developer will weigh more accurately the consequences of filling up a modal dialog with 50 tiny dials and settings, which would not necessarily be the case if they thought in terms of “the user”.