Bram Pitoyo, Interlude, Links

Q: “Do you use formal personas when thinking about the users of a new app?”


We don’t use personas. We use ourselves. I believe personas lead to a false sense of understanding at the deepest, most critical levels… They’re artificial, abstract, and fictitious. I don’t think you can build a great product for a person that doesn’t exist…

Personas can’t click things. Personas can’t make mistakes. Personas can’t make value judgements… People click things. People make mistakes. People make value judgements…

So if you can’t design something for yourself, design something for someone you know.

This is a very intriguing notion that balances out our longest held belief: that “targeting the correct audience is everything”. While I don’t think that personas will always lead to “a false sense of understanding”, they most probably will, because we ad grunts have always been encouraged and taught to look for “target audience”, “key market” and “core group” instead of real people.

With that said, I’m not suggesting that target audience research should be abandoned for the future—in fact, it will probably be more important than ever. I’m simply challenging you, dear reader, to learn that every customer research must be done with the understanding that “a target audience” is different from “a real human being”, and that advertising and marketing must fully embrace this seemingly obvious fact in order to survive and success in the future.

Good night.

Thanks to Signals vs. Noise.