Article by Brian Krause at adducive.com about Personas in Technology Product Design:
“People react emotionally to technology. An enthusiastic reaction results in blockbuster success like the iPod; the knack that Steve Jobs has for drawing people to Apple’s products explains his success. Unfortunately, reactions of frustration and irritation do not have correspondingly negative commercial consequences, at least not while there are so few choices that aren’t frustrating and irritating.
Specifically, the reaction we have to technology is guided by the reaction we would have to another person. Reeves and Nass demonstrated this in The Media Equation. They showed that even people who know how computers work are unable to keep themselves from assigning human traits to computer programs.
This is not surprising. We spend our lives learning how to get along not with technology, but with other people. It is a complex, endlessly fascinating activity that our brains and senses are quite well adapted to. Because of this experience, we can, from just a first impression, and with no effort, fill in all sorts of details and assumptions about someone we just met. Sometimes, this doesn’t serve us well and we act on stereotypes and unfair assumptions, but this ability is useful and essential to getting along with strangers and intimates alike.
Technology often seems like it was developed without thinking about people because it was. It seems more serious and efficient to focus on the technical challenges and hard data. That’s what business is, the engineering side, especially. Worrying about fictitious people seems like it’s not very intellectual, at least in a left-brain sense. Yet speculating about people engages some of the most well-developed and little-understood mechanisms of our brains. And besides, we can’t help it.”