Narrate the different types of users, based on clusters of behaviours and needs.

applied for






also called

Human Archetypes, Behavioural Archetypes, User Profiles

what is it

Each persona is a reference model representative of a specific type of users.Technically, they can be called behavioural archetypes when they focus on capturing the different behaviors (e.g. “the conscious chooser”) without expressing a defined personality or socio-demographics. The more the archetypes assume a realistic feeling (e.g. name, age, household composition, etc.), the more they become real personas, fully expressing the needs, desires, habits and cultural backgrounds of specific groups of users.

use it to

Remember who you design for and get inspired by their specific life and challenges.

remember to

Avoid enriching their descriptions with details that are not relevant in that context: they could be misleading.

Preview image of the template for Personas


(1998) Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Sams.

(2009) Frank Long, Real or Imaginary: The effectiveness of using personas in product design, research paper published in the Irish Ergonomics Review, Proceedings of the IES Conference 2009, Dublin

(2009) Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-centered Products and Services, John Wiley & Sons.

case studies


feature image of 'The Story of Spotify Personas' case study

Example by Spotify Design

The Story of Spotify Personas

Designing a set of personas based on their listening choices and device ecosystem


Spotify, the music streaming service, wanted to have a better understanding of existing and potential listeners. They needed a durable and flexible solution that would work for autonomous teams, across the world and on different parts of their products. To do this, they created personas. In Phase 1, they scoped their analysis to US listeners due to its size and the variety of listening behaviours that emerge from the way of life there – like long commutes, suburban lifestyles, etc. In Phase 2, they built on the insight that listeners’ device ecosystems, physical and mental abilities and other contextual factors shape their listening choices. They then arbitrarily picked genders, names and appearances that matched the range of people interviewed. They reduced the representation of personas to keywords, colours, symbols and energy levels reflecting their enthusiasm for music. They didn’t wait until the personas were complete before sharing them and tested their asset ideas in pilot workshops. The goal was to integrate with their existing practices seamlessly. And finally they crafted a communication strategy for Personas that included digital assets, physical assets and workshops.

what is interesting

Early in the analysis, they noticed that people’s needs or reasons for listening to music were consistent, even in different clusters — that is, to kill boredom, to feel productive, to entertain themselves and so on. But what was different was their attitude towards music consumption, the value they saw in paying for music and their behaviours around devices in different contexts.

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