Posted by Albert Gareev on Apr 12, 2013 | Categories: Notes

“Personas” were not invented by testing people, but quickly picked up, especially with regards to usability testing aspects. Over the years, I’ve read quite a few articles advocating for use of Personas, mainly in exploratory and agile testing. Yet somehow I haven’t seen a single practical, “hard-coded” example.

Since usability is one of the aspects we’re testing, I decided to mix in Personas in our testing approach – and started with defining a few basic personas.

The Impatient
Clicks quickly through the app. Sometimes confuses single and double-click, or repeats clicking the same command (link, button) if the response is not instant.
Makes mistakes, goes back, or cancels and restarts.
Makes quick judgments that often wrong.
Sometimes tries “new ways” or experiments with the functionalities.

The Cautious
Moves slowly and carefully through the app.
Always goes exactly by written instruction.
Expects everything to be precisely documented. Expects the application to communicate and instruct her during the work. Expects application to verify and validate everything, and the same herself as well, in order to avoid any mistakes.
Gets lost in unexpected situations; follows the pattern in confusing situations.

The Long Time User
Moves quickly and confidently through the app.
Knows all the limitations and has effective workarounds for them, but has some misconceptions as well.
Doesn’t need much of communication or confirmations as the sequence of actions is written in her mind.
Uses “restart and repeat” as a main solution for the all encountered problems.


Even though the original intent was to apply persona-specific testing style to evaluate usability, additional testing values have emerged.

Communication – testing as The Cautious helped to find spots where the application is doing poor job communicating with the user – either provides no confirmation, or brings misleading prompt, or even where the functionality is in disconnect with documentation.

State and Recovery – testing as The Impatient helped to find a few spots where the application does not restore into the same starting state upon cancellation, and continuing in that state would cause the problems.


I’ve got another hint from a Business Analyst, which might be related to Personas aspect of testing. Long time users are so used to the ways the app working, that even obvious improvements in the functionality might be seen negative, at least for a period of time.

Now, is that the kind of problems that testing should care about as well, and how can we anticipate and report (advocate) such problems?

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work by Albert Gareev is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.