Customer cards are a great way to present your results of your field work in a visual way. Have a look at how we use them and why they differ from personas.
Normally, a "persona" is an archetypical description of customers or users. But many personas out there are useless and do not help to understand a certain customer group at all. The problem with "normal" personas is that someone made it up and they do not represent a real person. They are simply too general and do not include information that is helpful for our specific project. We are using personas in a different way. That is why we sometimes also call them customer cards. We use customer cards to summarise results from qualitative field research. In many cases, it is a tough job to summarise several interviews in just one stereotype without having contradictions. The resulting persona can be pretty unnatural and hard to imagine in the further Business Design process. Therefore, we just pick one or two "natural" customers who represent their segment and present him / her by using a customer card including not less than:
Job(s) to get done statement
Reference to the represented segment
Picture of the person (if possible)
Discussed / observed / experienced customer journey
Positive and negative emotions during that journey
Ideas from the person or the interviewer based on the journey
Based on the type, dimension and results of your field work you may extend the customer card:
Picture story of a certain process
Pictures of relevant locations like a room, garden, office space, etc.
Pictures of relevant furniture, tools, software, etc.
Other discussed / observed / experienced customer journeys
Contradictions within one segment can be outlined by adding a box "What others said"
3. Usage Scenarios
Present results from your field work to your team
4. Instruction for Coaches
The most important part of customer cards are direct quotes. On the one hand they show that our persona is a real person and on the other hand they really help your team to understand the person even though they've never seen him / her before.
Encourage your team to take a lot of pictures during the field work with the consent of the interviewed / observed person. Real pictures are always better than stock images. But stock images better than no images