Resolving Incommensurable Debates: A Preliminary Identification of Persona Kinds, Attributes, and Characteristics

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Ingbert R. Floyd
M. Cameron Jones
Michael B. Twidale


Persona-based design (PBD) has become a popular method for enabling design teams to reason and communicate about user-centered design issues and trade-offs. There is a growing body of literature that describes different ways in which personas have been applied by researchers and practitioners. Despite this diversity in practice the debates about the usefulness of PBD as a method treat it as a single design method that is either good or bad. As a result, the present authors feel it is important to look more critically at what different authors are doing when claiming to use the persona concept, and to develop a theoretical distinction between various persona kinds and their attributes, as well as different characteristics which individual personas may exhibit. This method of analyzing the creation of personas, they believe, can be applied to other design techniques, in order to gain a better understanding of how they work, and how different methods of application can have different consequences for the resultant designs.


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