Where do personas come from?
Personas should always be based on data collected about users. As Alan Cooper, who developed the concept of personas for software design, formulates it, personas and their goals are not "made up", but they get "discovered as a byproduct of the investigation process. In the case of the BasKet Usability Project, there have been two surveys in which users of BasKet were asked about personal informations, their computer experience and their general computer and BasKet usage habits. These informations were structured and categorized into different groups of users, from which skeletons were formed. Skeletons are lists of distiguishing details for each category of users. They are handy for making a preselection of user groups to design for, prioritizing them and discussing about target groups. Not every skeleton will be develop into a persona, and skeletons may be merged if appropriate. It was not possible to conduct user observations or interview users one-on-one because I simply do not know anyone who is using BasKet for a longer time.