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Chapter 9. Designing for Pleasure > Precision, Not Accuracy - Pg. 89

Designing for Pleasure 89 the overwhelming majority of nurses are female. If the user is a computer technician, our persona will be Nick, a pimply faced 23-year-old former member of the high-school audio-visual club, rather than Hellene, a statuesque, 5-foot-11-inch beauty who went to Beverly Hills High. I am shooting for believability, not diversity. To make each persona more real to everyone involved in the product creation, I like to put faces to the names and give each persona an image. I usually purchase, for a small fee, faces from stock photo libraries on the Web. Occasionally, I've used sketched caricatures. You can cut them out of magazines if you want. A fully realized, thoroughly defined user persona is a powerful tool. Until the user is precisely defined, the programmer can always imagine himself as the user or allow the user to become elastic. A completely defined user persona is key to the suppression of any tendency for the developer to usurp or distort the user persona's role. Long before a single line of code is written, a well-defined user persona becomes a remarkably effective tool for interaction design. Hypothetical It is important not to confuse a precise user taxonomy with a real person. Real people are of great interest as raw data, but they are frequently useless--and often detrimental--to the design process. A fine wine helps a successful dinner; raw Cabernet Sauvignon grapes--tiny, tough-skinned, and seed-filled--would ruin it. Many scientists, with a reverence for the empirical, confuse real users with imaginary--but more valuable--design personas. The other major problem with real users is that, being real, they have funny quirks and behavioral anomalies that interfere with the design process. These idiosyncrasies are not extensible across a population. Just because one user has a distaste for direct manipulation doesn't mean that all--or