Basics of persona creation
Georg Olsen about his experiences in using personas and some basics of persona creation:
"When building personas, the first challenge is finding the information to build them. Obviously, it’s preferable to talk to and observe the users themselves, but that’s not always possible. In my opinion, any information is generally better than no information, and there are inevitably other sources of information. You can talk to user surrogates, such as domain experts, trainers, or immediate supervisors. There are “informants” who know about the users, such as people in the marketing, sales or customer support departments. For example, I once designed an extranet for a company’s board of directors. I couldn’t get access to the board, but their support staff was able to tell me all I needed about the directors’ behavior and computer skills. There are other indirect sources as well, such as manuals (especially those with notes written in them), site logs, customer feedback forms, surveys, etc. But one indirect source to be wary of is “ersatz” users—most commonly upper-level executives who think they understand their customers far more than they typically do."