Profile vs. Persona

3 Jun 2008 - 10:47pm
6 years ago
10 replies
8169 reads
oliver green
2006

Hi All,

Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?

Thanks,
Oliver

Comments

4 Jun 2008 - 12:23am
Chan FoongYeen
2008

Persona provides an illustration of a virtual user. There are more
information that you can extract from a persona such as user's profile,
goal, task to be completed, how he/she use the application tool, their daily
life, behavior, common practice, user expectation, etc. All these
information are good inputs for brainstorming and developing a new product.

4 Jun 2008 - 12:48am
Itamar Medeiros
2006

If you'd stick to Cooper's User Personas
(http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/the_origin_of_personas_1.html),
they would be completely different things:

-I would say "Profile" describes overall characteristics of the
"target audience"
(http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/reconciling_market_segments_an_1.html);

-Personas are archetypal users, who are created based on data
collected from user research on real users; but more important,
Personas represent behavior patterns, not job descriptions
(http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/perfecting_your_personas_1.html)

For more information on Cooper Personas:
http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/personas/

...
{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
http://designative.info/
http://www.autodesk.com/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29805

4 Jun 2008 - 12:52am
Szymon Błaszczyk
2008

On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 6:47 AM, oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
>
> Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?

It depends on what You mean by "profile".

1. Personas are based on research and synthesized from data - not
creative fiction
2. Personas are about goals, desires, and limitations of the user -
not pure demographics
3. Personas are tools for UCD
4. It's neither important nor recomended to create one persona for one
real user group
5. Form is function and there are best practices.

--
Szymon Błaszczyk
+48 609 649 819
http://2ia.pl | http://blaszczyk.name | http://przypadki.pl

4 Jun 2008 - 12:55am
Nathanael Boehm
2008

Profiles are *types* of users. Personas have real names (of obviously
ficticious users) :-)

A lot of overlap in content especially at a high level, but a different
approach and a different use.

Personas are generally open to deeper exploration of habits and small
details that might not seem relevant and wouldn't be included in a profile
(with its scientific approach) but can help designers think laterally about
catering for users' needs and behaviours.
--
Nathanael Boehm
:: http://www.purecaffeine.com
:: nboehm at purecaffeine.com
:: Canberra, Australia
:: 0409 288 464

On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 4:23 PM, FoongYeen Chan <chan.foongyeen at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Persona provides an illustration of a virtual user. There are more
> information that you can extract from a persona such as user's profile,
> goal, task to be completed, how he/she use the application tool, their
> daily
> life, behavior, common practice, user expectation, etc. All these
> information are good inputs for brainstorming and developing a new product.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

4 Jun 2008 - 1:12am
Kontra
2007

> Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?

Yes, about two dozen dead kittens.

--
Kontra
http://counternotions.com

4 Jun 2008 - 6:07am
Lee McIvor
2006

In my experience profiles usually refer to marketing profiles of users - based on information like demographics.

Personas are user archetypes based on a synthesis of goals, behaviours and motivations. Personas may include personal details such as names, photographs and demographics, but they do not in any way define personas. Indeed in many cases you will find personas lack precisely this kind of information because they're not directly relevant.

If there's a single article on the web that describes personas best, it's this one from Cooper in my opinion:

http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/perfecting_your_personas_1.html

Regards

Lee

leemcivor.co.uk

----- Original Message ----
From: oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Wednesday, 4 June, 2008 5:47:14 AM
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Profile vs. Persona

Hi All,

Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?

Thanks,
Oliver
________________________________________________________________
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Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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4 Jun 2008 - 7:19am
John Vaughan - ...
2004

Here's how we do it:

Role:
A group or category of "users" (s.a. Student, Faculty or Librarian) who
share a defined set of needs and perform a common set of tasks. Role is
identified at Log-In (if appropriate) and defines Permissioning to perform
tasks.

Profile:
If a person has a Log-in ID and we maintain a unique Record of them and
their Behavior (s.a. Preferences or My Favorites), then we call the data
affiliated with that unique record an (upper-case) "Profile".

Persona:
Analytical tool pretty much as defined by others in this thread.

Scenario:
Defines a task (or set of tasks)- usually affiliated with a Role and often
referenced in description of a "day in the life" of a Persona.

Goal:
The "motivator" driving a Scenario and providing context for the Tasks;
This is usually the focus of the Persona description

Task:
More granular description of scenario; Maps fairly directly to items in the
Business Requirements doc.

Use Case:
Generic "functionality" underlying tasks, behaviors & features.

Talking to the Team:

Roles & Goals are the high level stuff that helps communicate to upper
Management and Marketing side. The Business side wants to see those, plus
Tasks & Scenarios in a Business Requirements doc. Tech side wants
Requirements docs, Tasks & Use Cases - Roles, of course, help them
understand & manage Profiles & Permissioning .

John Vaughan
The Communication Studio LLC

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lee McIvor" <lee.mcivor at yahoo.co.uk>
To: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Profile vs. Persona

> In my experience profiles usually refer to marketing profiles of users -
> based on information like demographics.
>
> Personas are user archetypes based on a synthesis of goals, behaviours and
> motivations. Personas may include personal details such as names,
> photographs and demographics, but they do not in any way define personas.
> Indeed in many cases you will find personas lack precisely this kind of
> information because they're not directly relevant.
>
> If there's a single article on the web that describes personas best, it's
> this one from Cooper in my opinion:
>
> http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/perfecting_your_personas_1.html
>
>
> Regards
>
> Lee
>
> leemcivor.co.uk
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com>
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Sent: Wednesday, 4 June, 2008 5:47:14 AM
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Profile vs. Persona
>
> Hi All,
>
> Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?
>
> Thanks,
> Oliver
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>
>
> __________________________________________________________
> Sent from Yahoo! Mail.
> A Smarter Email http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/nowyoucan.html
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

4 Jun 2008 - 11:36am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

A user profile can a description of a particular user of a product or
a summary of the characteristics of particular groups of users from
surveys, interviews, or some combination of user research methods. As
John noted below: "User profile" sometimes means "the collection of
preferences associated with a particular user of a product". There is
one other definition that emerges from advertising -- "user profile"
can refer to a database built by advertising or marketing firms that
helps focus content and services toward particular individuals as
Amazon does when it list books on HCI or UCD.

I have some good references at home about user profiles that I'll add
to this discussion.

With regard to personas, I think that Henry Dreyfus, the iconic
industrial designer, was an earlier proponent of personas (though he
didn't use that term) in the 1950s. His book, Designing for People,
pretty much defines the general themes of user-centered design in my
opinion.

See Chapter 2 in his book for an interesting early approach to
Personas (Joseph and Josephine).

Chauncey

On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 9:19 AM, John Vaughan <vaughan1 at optonline.net> wrote:
> Here's how we do it:
>
> Role:
> A group or category of "users" (s.a. Student, Faculty or Librarian) who
> share a defined set of needs and perform a common set of tasks. Role is
> identified at Log-In (if appropriate) and defines Permissioning to perform
> tasks.
>
> Profile:
> If a person has a Log-in ID and we maintain a unique Record of them and
> their Behavior (s.a. Preferences or My Favorites), then we call the data
> affiliated with that unique record an (upper-case) "Profile".
>
> Persona:
> Analytical tool pretty much as defined by others in this thread.
>
> Scenario:
> Defines a task (or set of tasks)- usually affiliated with a Role and often
> referenced in description of a "day in the life" of a Persona.
>
> Goal:
> The "motivator" driving a Scenario and providing context for the Tasks;
> This is usually the focus of the Persona description
>
> Task:
> More granular description of scenario; Maps fairly directly to items in the
> Business Requirements doc.
>
> Use Case:
> Generic "functionality" underlying tasks, behaviors & features.
>
>
> Talking to the Team:
>
> Roles & Goals are the high level stuff that helps communicate to upper
> Management and Marketing side. The Business side wants to see those, plus
> Tasks & Scenarios in a Business Requirements doc. Tech side wants
> Requirements docs, Tasks & Use Cases - Roles, of course, help them
> understand & manage Profiles & Permissioning .
>
> John Vaughan
> The Communication Studio LLC
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Lee McIvor" <lee.mcivor at yahoo.co.uk>
> To: <discuss at ixda.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 8:07 AM
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Profile vs. Persona
>
>
>> In my experience profiles usually refer to marketing profiles of users -
>> based on information like demographics.
>>
>> Personas are user archetypes based on a synthesis of goals, behaviours and
>> motivations. Personas may include personal details such as names,
>> photographs and demographics, but they do not in any way define personas.
>> Indeed in many cases you will find personas lack precisely this kind of
>> information because they're not directly relevant.
>>
>> If there's a single article on the web that describes personas best, it's
>> this one from Cooper in my opinion:
>>
>>
>> http://www.cooper.com/insights/journal_of_design/articles/perfecting_your_personas_1.html
>>
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Lee
>>
>> leemcivor.co.uk
>>
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: oliver green <oliverhci at gmail.com>
>> To: discuss at ixda.org
>> Sent: Wednesday, 4 June, 2008 5:47:14 AM
>> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Profile vs. Persona
>>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> Is there a difference between the term profile and persona?
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Oliver
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>>
>>
>> __________________________________________________________
>> Sent from Yahoo! Mail.
>> A Smarter Email http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/nowyoucan.html
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

5 Jun 2008 - 8:47am
Szymon Błaszczyk
2008

On Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 1:32 PM, Andrew Boyd <facibus at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 4:52 PM, Szymon Blaszczyk <szymonblaszczyk at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> 1. Personas are based on research and synthesized from data - not
>> creative fiction
>
> Szymon,
> you have never used personas in conceptual/exploratory design? That is, used
> them to explore your best guesses as a research tool?

And you can also use personas as "knowledge management" (all that we
already know about our customers). It's ok to play, explore, but when
personas are used to make _decisions_ - it's just not wise when it's
all guesses and fiction.

And that's the most common mistake. We have personas, they're great,
and we use them. We make crucial decisions based on our precious
personas. But there's a problem. Those personas are about what we
_guess_ is true and real. It's missing the point. The only advantage
we get is focusing our thinking on users - nothing more. What about
segmentation - is it right? What about facts and all those tricky
details?

Personas based on solid research are more powerful, insightful and
secure tools. When it comes to tough decisions, I can't imagine using
personas that are just creative writing.

I like to think about personas as of form communication. When we know
and understand the users (lots of facts, lots of research material),
we need a tool to make use of this knowledge. We need a fast and
efficient tool. Personas.

--
Szymon Błaszczyk
+48 609 649 819
http://2ia.pl | http://blaszczyk.name | http://przypadki.pl

8 Jun 2008 - 7:40pm
Szymon Błaszczyk
2008

On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 1:20 PM, Andrew Boyd <facibus at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 12:47 AM, Szymon Blaszczyk
> <szymonblaszczyk at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> And you can also use personas as "knowledge management" (all that we
>> already know about our customers). It's ok to play, explore, but when
>> personas are used to make _decisions_ - it's just not wise when it's
>> all guesses and fiction.
>>
>> And that's the most common mistake. We have personas, they're great,
>> and we use them. We make crucial decisions based on our precious
>> personas. But there's a problem. Those personas are about what we
>> _guess_ is true and real. It's missing the point. The only advantage
>> we get is focusing our thinking on users - nothing more. What about
>> segmentation - is it right? What about facts and all those tricky
>> details?
>>
>> Personas based on solid research are more powerful, insightful and
>> secure tools. When it comes to tough decisions, I can't imagine using
>> personas that are just creative writing.
>>
>> I like to think about personas as of form communication. When we know
>> and understand the users (lots of facts, lots of research material),
>> we need a tool to make use of this knowledge. We need a fast and
>> efficient tool. Personas.
>
> Szymon,
> please let me reframe the question.
> Do you distinguish and leverage the difference between finding the answers
> (conceptual design) and enunciating the answers (specific design) in your
> work?
> You seem to be categorising the former as creative writing and fiction. The
> two are totally separate

I think I've overreacted. Of course I agree with you.

My point is a practical one: Personas are often used to justify design
decisions. Sadly, those personas are rarely based on research. In my
opinion - it's extremely common mistake. I think it's important to
repeat: research, research, research. Less harm will be done. Nothing
more.

--
Szymon Błaszczyk
+48 609 649 819
http://2ia.pl | http://blaszczyk.name | http://szymon.tumblr.com

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