Trends Report

Assumption Personas Help Overcome Hurdles To Using Research-Based Design Personas

November 4th, 2009
Jonathan Browne, null
Jonathan Browne
With contributors:
Harley Manning , Moira Dorsey , Vidya Drego , Angela Beckers , Shelby Catino


Forrester recommends that customer experience professionals use personas founded in ethnographic research to guide the design of products, channels, and messages. However, some organizations struggle to use personas effectively. To overcome common barriers to persona use, customer experience professionals should brainstorm with key stakeholders to create roughly sketched profiles of target customers, called "assumption personas." This exercise helps build the case for creating real personas, gets stakeholders to think about their business goals in customer-centric terms, and generates hypotheses about target customers for testing in subsequent ethnographic research. Customer experience professionals must ensure that assumption personas are viewed as a step toward customer insight rather than an end in themselves. They are valuable tools for kicking off persona projects, but they aren't fit for guiding design decisions.

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