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A Field Guide To User Research by Smashing Magazine

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A Closer Look At Personas: What They Are And How They Work

By Shlomo Goltz

In my experience as an interaction designer, I have come across many strategies and approaches to increase the quality and consistency of my work, but none more effective than the persona. Personas have been in use since the mid-’90s and since then have gained widespread awareness within the design community.

For every designer who uses personas, I have found even more who strongly oppose the technique. I once also viewed personas with disdain, seeing them as a silly distraction from the real work at hand — that is, until I witnessed them being used properly and to their full potential.

Once I understood why personas were valuable and how they could be put into action, I started ...

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