The Player Persona

The user persona is well known by the product teams and UX designers that embraced the user-centered design. It represents a great tool for describing the target customers by understanding their needs, experiences, behaviors and goals.

Alan Cooper, in his book “The inmates are running the asylum” describes persona as “a precise definition of our user and what he wishes to accomplish”.

You’ll need to do research on your users and find similarities that will allow you to describe them as a fictional character that might use your product. Personas also helps keeping all team focused on the same customer.

Player Persona

The Player Persona represents a variant of the user persona that includes gamification elements, like the Bartle’s player types or company culture. This type of persona is used both in the gaming industry and in gamification designs.

* Name
* Picture
* Quote (transmitting the most important things for the player)
* Demographics (age, gender, marital status, education, income, job title, industry)
* Job Goals (what motivates the player)
* Pain Points (with the current setup)
* Aspirations
* Work Culture
* Player type
* Personality type
* Archetype
* Tech used

Here is my example:

Player Persona Template

Their name, picture and the quote are the things that really bring a persona to life. Usually this is the information that will be remembered by the team members.

How to create Player Personas

Some information is easy accessible. For example, you can get the age, gender and the job title of one employee from the HR.

To establish the personality or the player type, you need to test your subjects and see exactly where they fit.

For everything else, talking to the players in one-on-one interviews remains best way to get the information you need. Try to listen and observe them as much as possible. Once you determine the right questions to ask them, you can also use surveys to gather more date at once.

For the corporate culture, you will need to use your power of observation to better understand it. Just move around the office and observe have people behave.

The problem with Personas (User or Player)

High quality personas proved themselves useful for Product/UX teams already, but they still have bad reputation with many people because is easy to create a bad personas.

Bad personas lack key information about the user, are poorly written or are not based on real customer data. On the other side, to much data doesn’t add value either.

A good persona fits in one page, is pragmatic, easy to read and provides information that can help in the decision making process when it comes to gamification or product design.

The persona is also a living document, the result of an iterative process of customer discovery. If for example, you start testing your gamification and observe a different player behavior you just adjust your persona.

No one starts with the best persona. Don’t create it and forget about it, continue talking to your customers and review the information you have about them.

Download Player Persona PowerPoint Template

Further readings:

Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types
Jungian archetypes
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper
Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software
by Janaki Mythily Kumar (Author), Mario Herger (Author)

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