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Non-human and non-user personas

Life-centred design tools to give nature and vulnerable humans a voice

Non-human and non-user personas

Life-centred design tools to give nature and vulnerable humans a voice

More than human

Non-human and non-user personas represent the animals, environments, and ‘invisible’ humans (factory workers, miners, farmers, and communities, etc.) impacted by our product lifecycle so that we may design to protect and respect them.

Anthropologist, UX researcher, and environment-centred design advocate, Monika Snzel, wrote about non-human personas ↗ in 2020, with a focus on environmental personas, as being visual characterisations of the environments impacted by a product’s lifecycle.

Based on classic user personas, and expanding on Snezl’s work, non-human personas may include:

  • Threats to the stakeholder’s current condition
  • Where and when the stakeholder is impacted by the product life-cycle
  • Use of first-person narrative and verbatim to personify the non-human persona to assist empathy among the team
Trees Non-human Persona

More than user

Non-human personas, however, only represent two of the life-centred design stakeholders—animals and environments.

Non-users are the people indirectly impacted at any stage of the product lifecycle and could include victims of:

  • Forced labour
  • Marginiliastion created by the use of your product
  • People or communities affected by pollution from the supply chain
  • Other

Non-user personas may represent a real person or a persona group. They may be a combination of fictional representation and scientific data.

More than human

Non-human and non-user personas represent the animals, environments, and ‘invisible’ humans (factory workers, miners, farmers, and communities, etc.) impacted by our product lifecycle so that we may design to protect and respect them.

Anthropologist, UX researcher, and environment-centred design advocate , Monika Snzel, wrote about non-human personas in 2020, with a focus on environmental personas, as being visual characterisations of the environments impacted by a product’s lifecycle.

Monika argued that non-human personas differ from user personas in that non-human personas are primarily based on facts sourced from respectable global organisations like the UN, more localised affiliate-free organisations and experts, scientists, and the people impacted by any environmental concerns relevant to the product.

Based on classic user personas, and expanding on Snezl’s work, non-human personas may include:

  • Threats to the stakeholder’s current condition
  • Where and when the stakeholder is impacted by the product life-cycle
  • Use of first-person narrative and verbatim to personify the non-human persona to assist empathy among the team

Combining Nielson Norman Group’s user persona and Snezl’s non-human persona guidance, the purpose of a non-human persona could be defined as:

Be a realistic and fact-based representation of a non-human entity to assist in balancing user-centred and life-centred design during project shaping, development, maintenance, and shut-down by fostering empathy and understanding in stakeholders.

An Video Persona

More than users

Non-human personas, however, only represent two of the life-centred design stakeholders—animals and environments.

Non-users are the people indirectly impacted at any stage of the product lifecycle and could include victims of:

  • Forced labour
  • Marginiliastion created by the use of your product
  • People or communities affected by pollution from the supply chain
  • Other

Non-user personas may represent a real person or a persona group. They may be a combination of fictional representation and scientific data.

Take the lead

Life-centred design aligns designers and businesses with global goals, and gives them the skills to respond to today’s wicked problems in practical and measurable ways.

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Damien Lutz, author of The Non-human Persona Guide, The Life-centred Design Guide, and Future Scouting

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A percentage of profits from design guides by Damien Lutz are donated to onetreeplanted.org to replace the trees used to create the books

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Lifecentred.design aims to be low carbon, inclusive, and regenerative

This site's hosting is green

Energy used by the web hosting servers is offset by 3 times as much renewable energy returned to the grid

100 trees planted!

To regenerate trees used to make my books, I donate a percentage of sales from lifecentred.design and futurescouting.com.au to onetreeplanted.org

Page CO2 emissions
Shown for high-traffic pages only

Sustainable web strategies are used to reduce page load emissions. Current industry standard is 0.5g/page view—all lifecentred.design pages are 0.26 or under

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More about my commitments | Suggest an improvement

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Lifecentred.design aims to be low carbon, inclusive, and regenerative

This site's hosting is green

Energy used by the web hosting servers is offset by 3 times as much renewable energy returned to the grid

100 trees planted!

To regenerate trees used to make my books, I donate a percentage of sales from lifecentred.design and futurescouting.com.au to onetreeplanted.org

Page CO2 emissions
Shown for high-traffic pages only

Sustainable web strategies are used to reduce page load emissions. Current industry standard is 0.5g/page view—all lifecentred.design pages are 0.26 or under

Page accessibility rating
Shown for high-traffic pages only

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More about my commitments | Suggest an improvement

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Lifecentred.design aims to be low carbon, inclusive, and regenerative

This site's hosting is green

Energy used by the web hosting servers is offset by 3 times as much renewable energy returned to the grid

100 trees planted!

To regenerate trees used to make my books, I donate a percentage of sales from lifecentred.design and futurescouting.com.au to onetreeplanted.org

Page CO2 emissions
Shown for high-traffic pages only

Sustainable web strategies are used to reduce page load emissions. Current industry standard is 0.5g/page view—all lifecentred.design pages are 0.26 or under

Page accessibility rating
Shown for high-traffic pages only

Pages are designed for accessible use and rated out of 100

More about my commitments | Suggest an improvement

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