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Embodied Personas for a Mobile World

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Purpose: Personas have long been an important tool for technical communicators to use to understand audiences. However, a recent critique of personas questioned their usefulness as a tool for audience analysis. This article takes that question as the starting point to offer a re-conceptualization of persona creation.

Method: A comprehensive review of the literature with a case study as an extended example provides insights into the necessity of updating update how technical communicators create personas.

Results: The literature review exposes major gaps in the research about persona development that, when compared to the case study, shows the need for technical communicators to update the dimensions of how personas are created and to reclaim the emphasis on goals and purposes of the user's practice.

Conclusion: Technical communicators need to re-conceptualize the creation of personas by incorporating additional dimensions that create embodied personas for a mobile world and that reclaim and refocus the persona's emphasis on goals and purposes rather than simply a focus on audience. These changes allow technical communicators to meet the needs of users of complex information systems and, thereby, to contribute more meaningfully to user experience projects.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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