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Proto-personas are like traditional Personas, difference is instead of using marketing data and notes from user interviews we only use Client stakeholders’ experience with their users.
When to use Proto-personas:
1. When you want to ensure alignment amongst Client stakeholders.
2. Used by Agencies when a Client doesn’t want to pay for research.
3. When doing Lean UX, Proto-personas are your best guess as to who is using (or will use) the product and why. You start with assumptions and then do research to validate the assumptions.
How I make Proto-personas:
1: Organise 3 hours brainstorming session with Client stakeholders.
2: Turn data collected in session into Proto-personas.
3: Organise a 3 hour review session with Client stakeholders rank Proto-personas in order of importance.
4: Make amendments to Proto-personas.
5: Get Client stakeholders to sign off final Proto-personas.

What I include in Proto-personas:
1: User’s behaviours.
2: Goal user wants to achieve with product.
3: User’s influences (list of technologies they use) which shapes their mental model (expectations of how a product should work).
Note: Instead of demographics I use a list of technologies. This info gives Designers an idea of what UI solutions the users will adopt instinctively.
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