How to bring your personas to life without needing an exorcist… Mike Rawling Agile on the Beach 2016 – Product Design 2016

Michael Rawling
How to bring your personas to life without needing an exorcist…

Interactive workshop (no computer)
Double session

Are User Personas haunting you? Does your team have trouble using personas because as they seem too intangible? In practice unbelievably unrealistic: insubstantial, unhelpful and eventually ignored? Your project maybe haunted by ghost personas! Lost, walled up behind a stack of documentation, technically now just a whisper in your conscience, a glimpse of users in a corner of your eye…irrelevant…crying for usability where no one can hear them?

User Personas really help ground product teams in genuine data, freeing them to have productive user-centric conversations with stakeholders that shift away from debating personal opinions into decision-making, based on proven user research – but personas can be quite hard to assemble realistically: almost seeming like a Dark Art. In todays Lean and pressured environments they often get created too quickly on a shallow basis from vague data or stakeholder opinion, leading your product in entirely the wrong direction.

Continuing an ongoing theme, Mike Rawling, a ux veteran of many apocalyptic projects, will share the latest user research techniques being used today, combined with tried and tested experience of how you can work with personas in a pragmatic way that fits into the world of digital development – without compromising either UX or your XP, Agile or Lean principles.

Attendees will come away from this session with an understanding of qualitative user research and be able to revive their User Personas in your Agile/Lean/XP process so they continue to serve as a useful reference for you, your team and stakeholders throughout the life of your product. The session will end with awards including most life-like persona of the day!

Cleanse your product of ghost personas!

Michael Rawling is the Lead Product UX at Unruly Media, a social media video company.

Mike’s professional experience in UX and UI development dates back to 1998 and since then has explored new ways of more effectively realising the massive potential that technology offers and that each product starts with. He has consulted on, designed, engineered and led such teams and initiatives for Konami, Wiley Publishing, UK’s National Lottery,,, LoveFilm and Granada/ITV-UK and Toyota.

Mike is @hedshot on Twitter and takes a lot of photos.