Persona by Mariner – Tool for User Research?

A little blurb popped up in my inbox this afternoon advertising Persona, a new software release from Mariner. (I’ve used MacJournal from them before and love it.)

Persona by Mariner

In essence, Persona is a program that helps writers develop and maintain characters for their stories:

Persona is based on this concept: by categorizing characters into archetypes, you can know their background, which in turn shows their motivations, and then allows you to predict their behavior. (My emphasis)

Does that bolded phrase sound familiar to you? Cooper, Reimann, and Cronin in About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design describe personas as the following:

Personas provide us with a precise way of thinking and communicating about how users behave, how they think, what they wish to accomplish, and why. Personas are not real people, but they are based on the behaviors and motivations of real people we have observed and represent them throughout the design process. (My emphasis)

Doesn’t Mariner’s new software sound like a wonderful tool for developing personas for usability research? Not convinced yet? Check this out:

According to Persona’s info page, the software helps you to get inside your characters’ heads and develop your characters’ personalities. The interface easily allows you to create a name and select an archetype, physical characteristics, occupation, hobbies, and personality.

It also has a bank of names you can choose from, which also lists origin and annual popularity ranking. (Perfect for making your names fit the age and nationality of your persona.  Jane Doe and John Doe just don’t have a realistic ring, do they?)

Persona Name Database

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