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The Ability of Personas to Alter Incorrect Preconceptions About Customers

The Ability of Personas: An Empirical Evaluation of Altering Incorrect Preconceptions About Users
The Ability of Personas: An Empirical Evaluation of Altering Incorrect Preconceptions About Users

False preconceptions about customers can result in poor design, product development, and marketing decisions, so rectifying these preconceptions is essential for businesses.

In this research, we quantitatively evaluates the ability of data-driven personas to alter decision makers’ preconceptions about their online social media users.

Conduct a within-participant experiment of 31 professionals carrying out a workplace task scenario, the participants’ conceptions of customer attributes are recorded both before and after interacting with personas created from real customer analytics data.

Using statistical analysis to compare the responses, we find that personas had a significant effect on changing preconceptions about the customer segments.

After interacting with personas, 81% of the participants changed their preconceptions of the customers, and 94% of the participants maintained or increased the accuracy of their perceptions of the customers after engaging with the personas.

Moreover, the confidence of the participants in their responses increased.

However, two participants did not change their preconceptions even when faced with contradictory factual information, which highlights the need for accompanying initiatives to align customer preconceptions with customer data fully.

Read the full research article!

Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., Chowdhury, S., Ramirez Robillos, D., and Jansen, B. J. (2021) The Ability of Personas: An Empirical Evaluation of Altering Incorrect Preconceptions About UsersInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studieshttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2021.102645

By Jim Jansen

Dr. Jansen is a Principal Scientist in the social computing group of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, and a professor with the College of Science and Engineering, Hamad bin Khalifa University, and an adjunct professor with the College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of West Point and has a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University, along with master degrees from Texas A&M (computer science) and Troy State (international relations). Dr. Jim Jansen served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry enlisted soldier and communication commissioned officer.