Ad Hoc, or 'Assumption,' Personas

No one has all the time in the world to get started, and no one has unlimited budgets-especially budgets to try new methods that haven’t been proven in your organization. Full, data-driven personas take time and money, so diving in with a data-driven persona effort might not make sense for you or your company-and that’s fine. In fact, I’m a big believer in starting small and proving success before moving on to bigger projects. And that’s why I recommend ad-hoc persona exercises to all of my clients.

Ad-hoc, or ‘assumption’, personas capture your organization’s current thinking about your customers. After all, you spend all day every day thinking about your business and your target market—you already have a lot of ideas about customers, which are probably based on research and conversations that have been going on since your business started. Ad-hoc personas are quick and relatively easy to create and can significantly jump-start the data-driven persona creation process.

We’ll use the knowledge you already have about your target customers to collaboratively create ad-hoc personas that will align all of the assumptions about customers that are flying around your organization. Ad-hoc personas will begin to create the common language that is critical to a shared, customer-centered focus.

For more thoughts on the value of ad-hoc persons, take a look at this article by Don Norman. He wrote this after a very interesting conversation we had about ad-hoc personas at one of the Nielsen Norman Group conferences.

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By the way…

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