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The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design (Interactive Technologies) [Kindle Edition]

John Pruitt , Tamara Adlin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If you design and develop products for people, this book is for you. The Persona Lifecycle addresses the “how” of creating effective personas and using those personas to design products that people love. It doesn’t just describe the value of personas; it offers detailed techniques and tools related to planning, creating, communicating, and using personas to create great product designs. Moreover, it provides rich examples, samples, and illustrations to imitate and model. Perhaps most importantly, it positions personas not as a panacea, but as a method used to complement other user-centered design (UCD) techniques including scenario-based design, cognitive walkthroughs and user testing.

John Pruitt is the User Research Manager for the Tablet & Mobile PC Division at Microsoft Corporation. Tamara Adlin is 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.

* Presentation and discussion of the complete lifecycle of personas, to guide the designer at each stage of product development.
* A running case study with rich examples and samples that demonstrate how personas can be used in building a product end-to-end.
* Recommended best practices in techniques, tools, and innovative methods.
* Hundreds of relevant stories, commentary, opinions, and case studies from user experience professionals across a variety of domains and industries.

Editorial Reviews


Personas are powerful design tools, which are that much more dangerous if they are grounded in weak methodology. Pruitt and Adlin show you how to do personas right and how to base them on real user data. Follow their advice or risk disaster.--Jakob Nielsen, author of Usability Engineering and Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity

"Personas personified. The definitive word on why personas are better than people in guiding your designs. Filled with case histories, sidebars, and helpful, useful guidelines as well as deep, penetrating analyses. A big book, and for reason. This book is unique in that it is truly for everyone: the practitioner, the researcher, and the teacher. Did I say this was essential reading? Well, it is: if you use personas, if you have thought about using them, if you don't even know what they are, this is the book for you." - Don Norman, author of Emotional Design and The Design of Everyday Things

Book Description

A field guide exclusively focused on interaction design's most popular new technique.

Product Details

  • File Size: 43866 KB
  • Print Length: 744 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (August 4, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006OM89KQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,456 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of THE HCI Resource Books for Your Shelf March 22, 2007
I should admit my bias up front. There are those who like little short books that make one point and make it over and over. There are many popular books in our field that are like that, filled with stories that all basically make the same point and are just a couple of hundred pages long. They are heavy on fun reading and pithy quotes, and light on meat. If my company doesn't buy them for me, I usually like to borrow these, read the first chapter and last chapter and skim the rest.

The Persona Lifecycle is the other kind of book. It is a book that is large because it is packed with information and ideas. It is big, because the topic is big. It is organized in a way that lets you take it down from the shelf and just read the bits that are relevant to the problem you have at the time. Are you trying to figure out how to get started? Are you trying to figure out how to engage your organization in the effort, and in user-centered design through the use of personas? Are you trying to figure out how to make your personas more effective? Are you trying to figure out how to drive more business value out of them? There is something for every situation.

There isn't just one way to get value from personas, and so a checklist or cookbook isn't appropriate. What are appropriate are principles that can be used to figure out an approach for a particular context, and lots of examples.

Furthermore, it is a book that doesn't just live in the world of theory, or pontificating about a point of view in order to justify a consulting business. It is a book that is filled with practical advice and the experiences of those who are using personas in their jobs.

This is a must-have resource for the HCI professional's shelf.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I have been anxiously awaiting a "how-to" book on personas since Alan Cooper's 1999 book, "The Inmates are Running the Asylum." This book by Tamara and John not only covers in detail all the "how-tos" of persona creation and use, but also talks about why personas are effective. The chapters about storytelling and the psychological aspects of personas provide concrete and insightful evidence for why personas are an effective approach to user-centered design.

The book is well written, clearly organized, and a very easy read. Also, the use of case studies and stories from the field expand on the book's contents, and provide some interesting examples of how personas are being used today.

I strongly recommend this book to any academic researcher in the HCI area, and any design professional that is currently using or trying to use personas in their organization. This is the book that will further legitimize and popularize the use of personas.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars putting the user first May 16, 2006
I recently worked on a project with one of the authors (Tamara Adlin) that utilized the Persona Lifecycle spelled out this book. What an amazing process. The principles that Adlin and Pruitt have articulated in this process help bring user centered design methodologies front and center. This is especially useful in highly matrixed or cross functional organizations that have trouble working effectively togeher. You end up with one common vocabulary - around your users/customers - that help everyone in an organization stay focused on who they are designing/developing for. The process helps to diffuse the politics and eliminate mixed signals on strategy -- which is useful to people at all levels in an organization.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lately I've been disappointed in many of the so called practitioners books that have crossed my desk, they have been very light on detail, aimed at the novice and do not have enough detail for the experienced professional. This book was different.

Written in a way that makes it accessible to the novice, it is a book that begs to be read from cover to cover. Skimming it just makes you realise that there is so much information in it that you will have to allocate serious time to it. It is full of helpful suggestions, ideas and quotes from people using personas in the field. Importantly it also provides anecdotes of what didn't work for people. It provides plenty of concrete suggestions to implementing personas, and guides you through the lifecycle of them rather than just saying here they are, just use them.

All in all this is a very practical book, written by people experienced in the field, with some great chapters by other experts eg Whitney Queesenberry. I thoroughly recommend it.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you are involved with designing and developing products and services for people, you know the importance of keeping the user (people) in mind throughout the product design. Designing for the users without involving real users is pointless. If you cannot involve the users, you can imagine them and create a personality to each and every one of them. Welcome to the next frontier for user-centered design: personas. If you want how to create and use personas to design products that people love I encourage you to read The Persona Lifecycle.

The Persona Lifecycle describes the value of personas, and offers detailed techniques and tools to conceive, create, communicate, and use personas to create [great] product designs. John Pruitt and Tamara Adlin provide examples, samples, and illustrations for persona practitioners to imitate and model. It is important to emphasize that the use of personas is a method that compliments other user-centered design techniques, including user testing, scenario-based design, and cognitive walkthroughs.

Personas are not always successful as a design solution, as the authors readily admit. That is why Pruitt and Adlin wrote The Persona Lifecycle: to provide solutions to some of the common problems practitioners have experienced when trying to create and use personas. The book begins with an introduction to personas (Chapter 1), followed by an overview of the persona lifecycle (Chapter 2), and five core chapters (Chapters 3 through 7) that cover the phases of the persona lifecycle.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Could be a great textbook for a 10-week class on personas
The book explains things very well, and illustrates the principles it describes with a rich selection of case studies. Read more
Published 9 months ago by nickinmr
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Guide to Personas
This is a big book and it will take you along time to read it and digest it.

But it is probably the essential text book for developing personas. Read more
Published on January 28, 2011 by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for all product managers
This book is an excellent source for developing and using personas. Personas are all about understanding your users from their perspective, not from a purchasing or developer... Read more
Published on April 27, 2009 by Tim Grabacki
5.0 out of 5 stars THE personas book for anyone interested in the topic
I have a background in experimental psychology and human-computer interaction. So, when my organization tasked my team with creating the first set of personas we'd be using, I... Read more
Published on April 23, 2009 by Daniel Mayes
5.0 out of 5 stars You must buy it
If you are new to the subject, this book is your reference. John Pruitt and Tamara Adlin explained the persona life cycle very smoothly with hundreds of examples and case studies. Read more
Published on April 7, 2009 by Ahmed Bassel
3.0 out of 5 stars Loads of information...get ready to extend your process
This book is full of handy processes. I have to say, you MUST be dedicated to building personas...and so does your organization. Read more
Published on April 11, 2008 by James A. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Theory, Case Studies and Practice
Finally, someone has produced a 'definitive guide' to personas.

I really liked Cooper's idea of personas when I first came across it. Read more
Published on October 9, 2007 by Ash Donaldson
2.0 out of 5 stars The authors missed the boat. One of the few books I cannot recommend.
(I've been doing personas since 2000, right after reading Cooper's Inmates are Running the Asylum).

I had great expectations for this book, but was sadly disappointed. Read more
Published on February 14, 2007 by Todd Warfel
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply the best book available on personas
Tamara and John got it right. Finally a book that goes beyond evangelization and provides real information on how to successfully produce personas within almost any organization. Read more
Published on January 19, 2007 by alex berg
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily implementable advice!
We recently staged a persona open house in strict accordance with John and Tamara's guidelines. Buzz posters, large graphical depictions of six personas, a collage of locations... Read more
Published on September 13, 2006 by Howard Snyder
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