What is this method?

Create a provisional representation of a user based on existing knowledge and assumptions.

Why do it?

The proto persona anchors the discussions you have during the start of the project and allows the team to make smart decisions about who to target for exploratory research during the initial phase of the project.

Creating a persona will help you answer the following questions:

  • Who is my ideal customer?

  • What are the riskiest assumptions I'm making about my ideal customer?

  • How can I find my ideal customer in real life?

When to do it?

It is recommended to do this early in the project in advance of the first round of user research.

Facilitator Directions

Step 1: Create Proto-Personas (25 min)

  • You can split the group into teams or individuals. Have them work for 8–10 minutes to fill out a copy of the persona template.

  • Ask each team (or individual) to describe the persona they created for the group.

Step 2: Combine Proto-Personas (15 min)

  • Give each person four votes, and have them vote on the quadrant that they think best explains the user (four votes in total, one on each quadrant across all versions).

  • Assemble the four quadrants with the most votes on this frame and discuss it with the group.

Success/Expected Outcomes

Success is when you've created one proto persona and everyone in the room feels like it represents the target audience as best as possible.


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