A Survey of 15 Years of Data-Driven Persona Development

Joni Salminen*, Kathleen Guan, Soon Gyo Jung, Bernard J. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Data-driven persona development unifies methodologies for creating robust personas from the behaviors and demographics of user segments. Data-driven personas have gained popularity in human-computer interaction due to digital trends such as personified big data, online analytics, and the evolution of data science algorithms. Even with its increasing popularity, there is a lack of a systematic understanding of the research on the topic. To address this gap, we review 77 data-driven persona research articles from 2005–2020. The results indicate three periods: (1) Quantification (2005–2008), which consists of the first experiments with data-driven methods, (2) Diversification (2009–2014), which involves more pluralistic use of data and algorithms, and (3) Digitalization (2015–present), marked by the abundance of online user data and the rapid development of data science algorithms and software. Despite consistent work on data-driven personas, there remain many research gaps concerning (a) shared resources, (b) evaluation methods, (c) standardization, (d) consideration for inclusivity, and (e) risk of losing in-depth user insights. We encourage organizations to realistically assess their data-driven persona development readiness to gain value from data-driven personas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1685-1708
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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