Saturday, March 13, 2010

Persona Diagrams Instead of multiple PowerPoint Slides with text

At SAP, design teams and many product managers routinely use personas to describe the target user. Using an illustration rather than a stock photo with some text next to it, helps people in the audience picture themselves in the role rather then see the user as someone else.

I learned from one of my colleagues, Jeremiah, that drawing an outline of the target user and leaving the facial details out is better than capturing all the details. You can create these illustrations from a photograph. Here is a sample user. A Net Generation employee who is used to getting things done on his phone. Conveys much more than 10 PowerPoint slides, does it not? This approach is very effective when presenting to executives, who normally have very short attention spans.

You will notice that the facial details are missing. This enables the audience to picture themselves in the role irrespective of their ethnicity. If you are interested in the tips and tricks of creating an illustration without hiring a full time artist, leave a comment and I'll add the procedure.


  1. Hi Prashanth,

    Thanks a lot for this tip. Could you please share how you do the illustrations without a full-time artists? I am curious to see how you built these sketches from a photograph.


    1. Alex, I take a photograph and draw the outline with my tablet PC. Jeremiah Stone has a pen and paper approach where he prints the photo, traces the outline on the back of the paper and then scans or takes a picture of the trace. That is laborious as well. You can use the library of images that I have in Streamwork. I invited you.


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