Personas and user dimension scales have been becoming increasingly popular with designers since 1999 when Alan Cooper popularized them in his book, The Inmates are Running the Asylum. Today, they are extending their influence into the realm of marketing, which makes perfect sense because marketers should enable communication between design teams and the user community. To this end, I’ll share what I’ve learned about creating personas and user dimension scales.


Personas are fictitious characters, or archetypes, that represent user types that might use a product or service. These are useful as design targets, meaning they serve as a means to considering how different personas might respond differently to a particular design. Ideally personas are based on research, they are not just invented based on anecdotal experience with your users.

Personas are useful not only to infer how users might respond to features or experiences, but also to help validate design concepts. Obviously, this will not replace actual testing with real users, but it might help head off issues before you get there. Another key benefit of personas is that they enable designers to have empathy with potential users because they feel like real people.

Here’s a personas overview diagram to keep on hand while your creating them:


Personas are not without their critics. Some people feel that they’re not scientific enough to represent your audience and can therefore be misleading. I don’t disagree with this, but I think the real value in creating them stems from the process of thinking deeply about how users react differently to products and services. Another potential issue to watch out for is letting the personas get in the way of user engagement. In other words, creating personas does not mean that you can stop engaging with users. Personas are a moving target that must be updated regularly  through engagement. For those interested in learning more about this, and some research that has been done on the effectiveness of personas, visit Frank Long’s research paper.

User Dimension Scales

Personas are useful to understand your user community. User dimension scales are a way of plotting your personas across a variety of user dimensions. As you can see in the diagram below, there are five dimensions listed with three personas listed on each dimension. Going through this exercise can help highlight where personas are similar or different.


I hope this comes in handy and please comment if I’ve missed anything important.

The first time you leave a comment, it will be placed in a moderation queue. Once we know you are not a bot, you will be free to comment at will from then on.

One Comment to Personas & User Dimentions For Marketing

  1. jeannie says:

    So helpful! I’m in the midst of a content strategy exercise and this post was my inspiration for a stake holder meeting.

Leave a Reply