The Big Problem with Personas

by Anthony at UX Movement

What is The Big Problem with Personas? Personas have long been a useful UX tool for summarizing user research data. Designers create these character profiles to humanize their findings and insights for project stakeholders. The purpose is to help guide their decision-making toward meeting user needs.

But there’s one major problem with personas nobody ever talks about. And it’s wasting your time, keeping you from designing for users, and preventing stakeholders from making correct design decisions. Failing to address this problem could cause your company to lose money.

The big problem with personas is… nobody uses them.

If you were to track how many people reference your personas after distributing them to your team, you’ll find very few do. Most will glance over it, mentally appreciate the information, and never pick it up again.

All that hard work—wasted. This isn’t how you want others to treat your personas.

Hard to Reference & Unusable

Your team members need to refer to your personas in discussions to ensure every decision meets user needs. But most will rarely reference personas throughout the process.

The problem isn’t with other people or your research data, it’s with how your persona is presented. You were taught that personas are supposed to be a certain way.

It needs:

  • A written bio
  • Demographics
  • Stock photo
  • Personality attributes
  • Motivations, Goals, Frustrations, etc.

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