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Is stereotyping inevitable when designing with personas?

Turner, Phil; Turner, Susan


Phil Turner

Susan Turner


User representations are central to user-centred design, personas being one of the more recent developments. However, such descriptions of people risk stereotyping. We review the genesis and application of personas and kindred representations, and discuss the psychological roots of stereotyping and why it is so powerful. It is also noted that user stereotypes may be broadly accurate. This raises a number of questions. On practical level, as stereotyping is deeply engrained and resistant to circumvention, what are the instrumental approaches to its avoidance? Or, do we simply hope that its effects are not particularly prejudicial or detrimental? We argue that stereotyping in the design of interactive technology may be usefully thought of as comprising a number of tensions (or dialectics).


Turner, P., & Turner, S. (2011). Is stereotyping inevitable when designing with personas?. Design Studies, 32, 30-44.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011-01
Deposit Date Aug 30, 2010
Print ISSN 0142-694X
Electronic ISSN 1872-6909
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Pages 30-44
Keywords design behaviour; design techniques; interface design; personas;
Public URL
Publisher URL