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Proto Personas


  • A sketch, or a low-fidelity version of the Persona
  • Created by teams collectively
  • Based on experience and gut-feel, rather than market research


  • Align teams towards a common understanding of the target audience
  • Humanise numbers to empathize better

When to use

  • At early stages of Design Thinking Proto Personas serve as a starting point
  • When there is a constraint on resources


What you need

Large flipchart / Whiteboard
Post its / Markers / Sharpies

Time needed

1 – 3 hours, depending on number of proto-personas being created

Number of people

1 facilitator
4 – 6 team members


  1. Refer to strategic target customer of the product in question
  2. Look for specific user groups – prioritize if required
  3. Get the basic demographic info – age range / gender/ location / marital status / special needs
  4. Now get the team together
  5. Start with figuring out user groups – we will make one proto persona for each
  6. Do one proto persona at a time
  7. Use the format and start with a relevant name, draw / paste a picture
  8. Ask questions, challenge each other
  9. Agree that this is what our typical customer in this user group would be like

Variation (requires more time)

  1. Each team member uses empty formats and makes 3 personas each
  2. Each one presents their personas – while the facilitator starts noting down salient and common points
  3. Finally clean the 3 personas that facilitator notated – to make your personas


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  • is a proven and repeatable problem solving protocol that any business or profession can employ.
  • combines creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved, and knowledge to be gained. It’s a mindset focused on solutions and not the problem.

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