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

1st Edition

Authors: Tamara Adlin John Pruitt
Paperback ISBN: 9780123814180
eBook ISBN: 9780123814197
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 4th May 2010
Page Count: 240
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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.

Key Features

Practical and immediately applicable how-to reference guide for building and using personas – from planning, creating, launching, evaluating, and determining ROI

Invaluable guide that gives you a quick reference for incorporating personas into a product development process

*Features all the essential how-to material from its parent book, The Persona Lifecycle, as a quick, at your fingertips companion


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.

Table of Contents

About the Authors Chapter 1 What are personas? Introduction 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 Introduction 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 Summary 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 Summary 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


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Morgan Kaufmann
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About the Author

Tamara Adlin

Tamara Adlin is the Principal consultant at Adlin, Inc. She was formerly a Customer Experience Manager at For the past six years, John and Tamara have been researching and using personas, leading workshops, and teaching courses at professional conferences and universities. They developed the Persona Lifecycle model to communicate the value and practical application of personas to product design and development professionals.

Affiliations and Expertise

Experience Strategist, adlin, inc.

John Pruitt

John Pruitt is a User Research Manager for the Tablet and Mobile PC Division at Microsoft Corporation. Since joining Microsoft in 1998, he has conducted user research for a number of products including Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, and MSN Explorer, versions 6, 7 & 8. Prior to Microsoft, he was an invited researcher in the Human Information Processing Division of the Advanced Telecommunications Research Laboratory, in Kyoto, Japan, and also worked as a civilian scientist doing simulation and training research for the U.S. Navy. John holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of South Florida and has published articles and chapters on usability methods, skill training, naturalistic decision-making, speech perception and second-language learning. He has been creating and using personas for more than five years, continually developing a more rigorous approach to the method and mentoring numerous product teams at Microsoft and companies worldwide in adopting the technique. John has led workshops and spoken widely on the topic at both academic and industry events.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Program Manager, SharePoint, Microsoft


"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