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The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web by Ziv Yaar, Steve Mulder

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4. Conducting Qualitative User Research

I WAS ASKED RECENTLY to create personas for a company without talking to any of its customers. Several years ago, this was all too common and wouldn’t have even make me flinch. But now, the idea of creating personas without meeting any users is like trying to plant flowers in a bed of rocks. It just feels wrong, and I know it probably won’t work.

This particular company had data on its users. There were spreadsheets on the products the users had purchased, as well as their age, gender, marital status, and number of kids. The company had the facts, but no flavor. I had no information about their users’ goals, knew nothing about their attitudes, and only had a little bit of information about their behavior. ...

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