Since Personas is a very much used and contested tool, we have decided to take the time to develop this tool and show its pertinence for a creative process.

Personas are “hypothetical archetypes of actual users” (Cooper, 1999). Personas are descriptions of fictional characters based on real data and research about an issue or a target. These fictional descriptions can be used throughout the creative process to identify the real user’s needs, aspirations, fears and expectations in order to conceive the best possible experience for them.

The Personas will allow you and your team to:

  • Focus on specific users and not on your personal experiences or general cases
  • Create a shared understanding of your user that does not build on preconceived ideas but on real data
  • Be empathic with your users by creating a long-term engagement with them
  • Communicate and share the essence of the user you want to focus on
  • Organise and make sense of all the data you have collected through interviews, observation and documentary research

When is it useful?

This is a very useful tool for the ideation phase, after having gathered information about your user/customer or potential user/costumer’s behaviours, aspirations and experiences. Your Personas will be the basis to build up Experience Maps or later on, User Scenarios


Ideally, you should work on the creation of the Persona with a team.

Time & Materials

Preparation: in between 2 to 4 hours

Development: in between 1 to 2 hours

You will need at least:

  • 1 A4 per Persona
  • Markers

Step by Step

STEP 01: Based on your previous research (interviews with users and stakeholders, observations, shadowing), identify groups of users that have common interests, similar behavioural patterns or service preferences regardless of their demographics. Once you have identified some user groups, take the time with your team to cluster the research insights you have for each of them.

STEP 02: Choose the user groups that you would like to characterise and bring to life through your Personas. It is better to have few Personas so the team can keep focused and be very precise when describing them. When it comes to Personas is more about the precision than the quantity. It is estimated that between 3 and 7 Personas is a good number for most projects.

STEP 03: Agree on the elements you want to include in your layout in order to start building your Personas. There are plenty of layouts for developing a Persona; create or choose a layout that helps you and your team to be clear about the needs, aspirations and limitations of the character in relation to the subject/product or service you are working on.

Some of the elements you can find in a Persona, make a choice according to your project:

  • Identity: name, photography, an engaging description of their daily life and the things that s/he values the most, key quotes that reflect her/his state of mind and life priorities.
  • Behaviours and attitudes towards your subject/product or services: their level of expertise regarding the domain, their expectations and wants (must do) and frustrations or what annoys him/her the most (must never), their fears, beliefs and insecurities.
  • Context of use: when, why, with whom and how often do they use some related services or products.

STEP 04: Make a layout with the different key elements chosen. You can create a tailored layout of your own, get inspiration from the net where you will find loads of templates or use

STEP 05: Fill in your layout to create your Personas!


  • The Persona must be based on data from real life users, despite being a fictional character.
  • Go beyond demographic data: age, gender and delve on the Persona's needs, aspirations and fears.
  • Make your character an engaging one. When describing your Persona, do not only make a list of needs, fears or goals but try to make a vivid description that allows the readers to identify with the character.
  • Work with a small group of Personas. If you or your team cannot recall the name and main features of all your Personas, you have too many!
  • Make sure each Persona is unique and with particular characteristics that make her/him different from the rest of the Personas you are working on.

Video tutorial

Examples & Templates

Interviews, Observation, Experience Map, Scenario


Personas: The Foundation of a Great User Experience Engaging Personas Méthodes de design UX This is service design thinking