Lean Practices

Proto Personas

What is a Proto Persona

A persona is a representation of a customer that can be used as a guide when designing a product. While most of us learned about personas as an outcome of user research, the Lean approach suggests we build personas based on assumptions as a method of getting started designing more quickly. Whichever method you choose, it’s important that Personas are ever-changing documents that evolve over time. 

A Proto Persona takes the Lean approach and prioritize speed over accuracy. Rather than spending a lot of time building a fully thought-out identity of a user, focusing on basic demographics, needs, obstacles, and desires provides enough information for the team to get started working. It’s more important that your team have a shared understanding of who is using your product and what overall hurdles your product is attempting to solve rather than expanding upon minor details that don’t provide an adequate return on investment. 

Here’s an example of a proto persona I created for the PMG brand redesign. 

For more on proto personas, check out the book Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden.

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