Need Finding


This method can be used to understand users’ needs and problems in a specific context (not their entire life) to focus the design process on specific users.

Format Method, WorkshopTimeframe < 1hGroup Size AllFacilitation Level MediumRequired Materials Pen and paper, Post its, Persona template in A0 printed (or online) version.


  • Participants are asked to collect data from various sources so they can start building the persona. This can also be asked and prepared by the participants beforehand.
  • Then, the participants are asked to form a hypothesis; build a general idea of the different users in the context, including their differences. They should support or reject the first assumptions about the differences between the users by comparing the existing knowledge with project participants and the hypothesis.
  • The participants are then asked to identify and have a final decision upon the number of the personas and describe them.
  • Then, the participants are asked to create scenarios that describe solutions. 
  • Later, participants should create scenarios that describe solutions.
  • The final results of the exercise are gathered in order to disseminate the personal for others for future use and revise with new information.


Persona contains physiological, sociological and psychological dimensions; an indirect explanation of what motivates the character’s actions.


1) Appearance: textual expressions or picture (preferably picture because it is memorable); 2) Social Background: level of education or culture; 3) Make sure that it is clearly described the relationship/relevance of the person with the selected study area/topic/issue at hand; 4) Human beings, and characters, need to be described in a way that makes the person who uses the persona immediately envision a ‘real’ person (write it in the third person); 5) Narrated description; a character-driven story; 6) Create an archetype; it builds on the idea that there are some basic human patterns, a number of combinations of characteristics that are common and can describe the user (i.e. archetypes as personality traits: extrovert-introvert, sensory-intuitive, thinking-feeling); 7) Persona is mainly a representative of the collected data based on assumptions and knowledge about a specific user, so it cannot be supported on its own - it requires support at all levels; 8) This tool cannot be used as a main tool for the design process, but it should be integrated and supported by other tools.
  • IHS
  • Adlln, T., & Prultt, J. (2010). The Essential Persona Lifecyde Your Guide to Building and Using Personas. Elsevier.
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