ideation iteration illumination

Personas are useless. OK there I’ve said it. I’ve made a strong, dare I say “controversial”, statement. How useless are they? Well that’s another matter. There is a modicum of utility to them if a designer never gives much thought to who’s on the other side of the of the screen when creating new products. After all, human understanding is the currency we deal in. It is empathy we need, that is what connects us as humans, one to another. Personas are not a necessary means to empathy and can quite often be the heavy mallet that shatters the fragile subtitles that enrich human experience.

Personas are so very correctly referred to as a tool. Some tools prove useful and stand the test of time and some tools turn out not to live up to their promise and should be discarded. The endemic problem is not the personas themselves but rather it’s the designer wielding them. See, we humans are pretty clever and despite the old saying that you “can’t fit a square peg into a round hole”, we can. We can as long as we have the right tool.

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