Personas are a popular UX research technique, with some 65% of practitioners reporting using them. Personas can take on a life of their own with names, faces, and details about their pets, proclivities and even personal hygiene. Despite their popularity, personas are criticized for lacking scientific rigor. Common challenges researchers and practitioners face when choosing to use personas are: How many personas should there be: 3, 4, 6 or 8? Are the personas really generalizable beyond the small sample to the larger population of users? What details should be collected? Which variables differentiate the personas? All too often these important decisions are made using intuition, leading to serious questions about their credibility as a research tool.
Using case studies and an overview of several techniques, the audience will have an understanding of: