The Persona Lifecycle: Integrating User Representations into Every Stage of Product Design

Speaker: Tamara Adlin , Amazon Services

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Refreshments: 1:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: Patil Seminar Room (32-G449)

Event Type:

Room Description:

Host: Jaime Teevan, CSAIL

Contact: Jaime Teevan, 617/253-1611,

Relevant URL:

Speaker URL: None

Speaker Photo:

Reminders to:

Reminder Subject: TALK: TBA

** NOTE: Unusual day and time. **

Whether you call them user archetypes, profiles, target customer characterizations, or personas, creating detailed representations of users to aid in the product design process is generating renewed interest. Yet even though the buzz around personas just keeps increasing, it¹s hard to find specific, how-to information for creating and employing personas.

There's a good reason for the buzz: personas can be a powerful device for integrating user-centered design methods into your development cycle, radically improving communication and user focus within your organization, and subsequently improving users¹ experiences with your products and services. For the past 4 years, Tamara and her co-author John Pruitt (Microsoft) have been working with persona practitioners from all over the world to understand how personas are being used today, which persona-related methods are most helpful, and why so many persona efforts fail.

The result is a highly practical Persona Lifecycle framework that defines five phases of persona development, use, and measures of ROI. Tamara will introduce you to the Persona Lifecycle, discuss a range of tools for creating personas, and reference a variety of examples illustrating how they can be employed.


Tamara Adlin is the founder and president of Adlin, Inc., ( a customer experience consulting company located in Seattle, WA. Prior to forming her company, Tamara created the Customer Experience services team for Amazon Services, which provided complete customer research and site design services for Amazon¹s platform clients (including the official NBA online store, Marks & Spencers, Sears Canada, and others). Previously, she was the Senior Usability Specialist for (, where she consulted with teams across the company to improve the user experience for customers, sellers, partners, and support professionals. Before she came to Amazon, Tamara was the Human-Centered Design Lead at Attenex Corporation (, a legal services software company in Seattle, where she designed advanced document management interfaces. In previous positions, Tamara was the team leader for the Human-Centered Design Team at Akamai Technologies' Seattle office, INTERVU, Netpodium Corporation, and MetaBridge, where she designed interfaces for a variety of web applications and the award-winning Netpodium Interactive Broadcasting Toolset. Tamara started her user experience career as an Engineering Psychologist at the Army Research Laboratory, where she evaluated human factors issues associated with military systems.

Tamara has been invited to speak on personas and other customer-centered design methods at a variety of industry and academic events. Tamara is co-author of a book on personas with John Pruitt (Microsoft). The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design (
8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-1609560-7389440?v=glance&s=books&n=507846), is in pre-publication with Morgan Kaufmann Publishers and will be available late autumn 2005. The book includes four invited chapters from other experts in user-centered design and over a hundred sidebars written by 60+ colleagues who have used personas in their work. In 2003 and 2004, Tamara and John¹s two-day seminar for the Nielsen/Norman Group received the highest ratings from participants at their User Experience Conference (

Tamara holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.S. degree in Technical Communication from the University of Washington, where she focused on User Interface design techniques and interdisciplinary communication.

Research Areas:

Impact Areas:

See other events that are part of the HCI Seminar Series Fall 2005.

Created by Linda L. Julien Email at Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:21 AM.