The Essential Persona Lifecycle: Your Guide to Building and Using Personas book cover

The Essential Persona Lifecycle: Your Guide to Building and Using Personas

The Essential Persona Lifecycle: Your Guide to Building and Using Personas offers a practical guide to the creation and use of personas, which can help product designers, their team, and their organization become more user focused. This book is for people who just need to know what to do and what order to do it in. It is completely focused on practical tools and methods, without much explanation on why the particular tool or method is the right one. The book discusses the five phases of persona lifecycle: • Family planning - Basic ideas and a few tools that will help one get organized. • Conception and gestation - Step-by-step instructions to move from assumptions to completed personas. • Birth and maturation - Strategic techniques to get the right information about ones personas out to ones your teammates at the right time. • Adulthood - Specific tools that will ensure that ones personas are used by the right people at the right times and in the right ways during the product development cycle. • Lifetime achievement and retirement - Basic ideas and a few tools to you measure the success of the persona effort and prepare for the next one.


Beginning interface designers and developers, software designers, web designers, web application designers, interaction designers, appliance designers and developers, information architects, usability engineers, usability evaluators and development managers, students in computer science, graphic design, HCI, and usability.

Paperback, 240 Pages

Published: May 2010

Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann

ISBN: 978-0-12-381418-0


  • "Many people think they know how to create personas-but they don’t. Hearsay knowledge gathered from surface browsing of a few websites and press releases is a scary and risky background for building a tool on which your user experience is supposed to rest. Better (and safer for your project) to learn from people like Adlin and Pruitt who actually know what they’re talking about. As this book shows, personas are not that hard, but there’s still more to them than what you can pick up from a blog posting. Read The Essential Persona Lifecycle or suffer." -- Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group


  • About the Authors

    Chapter 1 What are personas?


    Why a persona lifecycle?

    Why another persona lifecycle book?

    What additional materials will I find in the original persona lifecycle book?

    Chapter 2 The five phases of the persona lifecycle


    The persona lifecycle encourages and supports user-centered design

    Chapter 3 Persona family planning

    What is family planning for personas?

    Organizational introspection: Are personas right for your project?

    Step 1. Build a core team

    Step 2. Identify goals

    Step 3. Create an action plan

    Step 4. Get your hands on some data

    Get ready for conception and gestation!

    Chapter 4 Persona conception and gestation

    What is the conception and gestation process for personas?

    The six-step conception and gestation process

    How long does the conception and gestation process take?

    How many personas should you create?

    Persona conception: Steps 1, 2, and 3

    Persona gestation: Steps 4, 5, and 6

    How to know you are ready for birth and maturation


    Chapter 5 Persona birth and maturation

    What is birth and maturation for personas?

    Step 1. Prepare for birth and beyond

    Step 2. Birth

    Step 3. Maturation

    Persona artifacts (the what and how of communicating your personas)

    If you are a consultant


    Chapter 6 Persona adulthood

    What is adulthood for personas?

    What to expect during persona adulthood

    Job 1: Help your personas settle in

    Start with the basics: Invite personas into your offices and into your meetings

    Plan, design, evaluate, release: How to use personas during the stages of product development

    Stage 1. Use personas to plan your product

    Stage 2. Use personas to explore design solutions

    Use personas to help you explore visual design solutions

    Adult personas and developers

    Stage 3. Use personas to evaluate your solutions

    Stage 4. Use personas to support the release of your product

    Transitioning into lifetime achievement, reuse, and retirement


    Chapter 7 Persona lifetime achievement, reuse, and retirement

    What are lifetime achievement, reuse, and retirement for personas?

    Step 1. Measure the return on investment of your persona effort

    Step 2. Decide how to manage the transition to the next project


    Appendix A Ad hoc persona example

    Company: ACME professional association for CPAs

    Gary getting started

    Meet gary

    Appendix B Data-driven persona example


    Tanners goals and desires

    What does Tanner want from

    Tanners computer and internet usage

    Research report references

    Appendix C Case study: G4K (games 4 kids) kids web portal


    G4K persona family planning

    The G4K persona team find some much needed data free web-based data sources

    G4K persona conception and gestation

    Identifying factoids and transferring them to sticky notes

    Assimiliating factoids

    Identifying subcategories of users and creating skeletons

    Discussing priorities

    Completing the personas

    G4K persona birth and maturation

    G4K persona adulthood

    Using personas for competitive analysis

    Using personas for feature brainstorms

    Creating a persona-weighted feature matrix

    Using a scenario collection spreadsheet

    G4K measures the ROI of the persona effort

    Measuring product improvements

    Measuring process improvements

    Preparing personas for the next project




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