Sample Personas from Involver

This post is an update to my previous post on personas. I’m circling back to share some example personas that my team developed at Involver. Now that we’re part of Oracle these personas are out of date but they should be helpful as references. In my experience good personas must be developed/evolved iteratively.

I’ve found that it’s useful to print up our personas and hang them on the wall so that you can walk over and review them as you debate some business or design decision. If you do this, I recommend putting up a page that explains what personas are. At Involver it was fun to watch my colleagues and guests to the office read and react to them. Here’s what our explanation poster looked like:


And here is what one of our personas looked like. We developed a handful of these to round out the folks that we designed for or worked with. Remember, these are fictitious characters and are NOT based on specific individuals.

One thing that you may notice about these personas is that they are designed for marketing and sales use. Of course, you can adjust the format to meet your specific needs. Here I call out which collateral is most relevant to each persona along with selling points. If you’ve got other great reference examples please post links in the comments.

A Prototyping Conundrum

A good friend and I are working on an invention that we believe will solve a problem faced by urban bikers. I can’t say much more than that, but that’s probably all you really need to know in order to consider my prototyping conundrum. It deals with a common problem, I believe, that arises when prototyping to test your concept versus prototyping for manufacture.

When should we be thinking in terms of the final (manufactured) design and when should we be thinking in terms of the design that is required to test and get feedback on the concept? You see, we’re planning on doing a short run of the device (say 100 units) so we can do some testing and it doesn’t make sense to have them cast. Following this, we have to change some elements of the design to accommodate manufacture by other means.

Should we have two separate prototype paths?
In reality, the details aren’t THAT different but it can be confusing because we haven’t been good as saying “with respect to the testing prototype, I think we should …” My gut tells me that we just need to add some structure to our process to resolve this issue for now. But, you do have to wonder how to balance your time and effort between the two prototypes.

Is it a marketing issue?
Some of the details in question are purely aesthetic or at least partially aesthetic and it’s unclear how much weight to give them. Though clearly, that’s more of an issue with the manufacturing prototype. There’s also the issue of cost of goods sold and how our choices will effect that. Our designs have evolved quite a bit so we haven’t had the chance to speak with potential manufactures about the impact of our choices. My partner is an engineer, but still we don’t really have a sense of if we’re talking about dollars per unit or cents for some of our choices.

When should we think about cost? For me, and with regard to this device,  it boils down to the fact that no matter what we do our device will cost significantly less than other devices in the same category …. so I’m not really worried about cost too much at this point. Maybe that’s wrong, but it seems to me that we should come up with the “best” solution and try to control costs from there. I guess this stems from my belief that people are willing to pay for great products and that pricing is in large part irrational (refer to Predictably Irrational if you want more on why).

I welcome your thoughts!