The bedrock principle of all user experience design is understanding who the users of this particular app really are—not who you wish they were or hope they’ll somehow morph into. Without this knowledge, the UX always gets designed for a user who resembles the developer, which the real users are guaranteed to hate.
It is, however, extremely difficult to grasp the concept of “the user.” That nebulous term wriggles and twists as you try to apply it to specific situations. We need to understand and represent the users of our program in a way that our minds can grasp and absorb. In this chapter, we learn to construct an artificial user called a persona, which makes the user population real to us.