Where A Persona Fails

people looking at people personas

Personas are fine right up until they’re not. By then it’s too late. Usually, it’s right around the point that demographic data gets put in.

Designing for the function of paying without physical cash or credit card allows some mental flexibility. Differentiate the function between a millennial and a grandfather, suddenly your biases are making assumptions. Worse if you start throwing race in there.

Want to create better solutions for everyone? Listen to people, regardless of their background, and address the jobs they’re trying to get done. Derive empathy from their experience.  Iterate around that.

Jobs To Be Done

Don’t walk. Run. Order this now. Honestly, put down the stickies. Put down the customer journey map that you’re working on based on some demographic with unnecessary detail about that suburban mom having two kids. Buy this book now.

I’ve updated this with the link to the e-book

Data and Screens

If there is a viewable area, there will always be more data than can fit in that viewable area. If that isn’t an axiom, it should be.

We work on data tables that we put in the magazine and then put the same, or even more data on the website. No eye can handle all of that data. It’s not a font size problem (condense it to make it fit) but rather a content detection problem. Our eyes see that there is content but we can’t tear it apart.

Edward Tufte wrote about presenting visual data and the penchant for adding (essentially) chart junk. Noise that doesn’t tell the reader anything new. A table is essentially a chart with data where all the relevant data is important at different points. Which means that at some point of interaction, most of it becomes chart junk. A bit strong but I’m trying to get that point across.

This is the reason why Excel, with almost endless data columns and rows, let’s you freeze rows and columns. Or hide columns. So someone’s eyes can momentarily not deal with the chart junk.