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When working on a fictional personal project that will only serve as a portfolio piece (i.e. briefbox projects), how can I find the appropriate data to create user personas? I want to emphasize my process but I feel that the lack of data and no client or real users are a major road block.

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    I reviewed so many portfolios of applicants. What often puts me off is not the design process or the lack of data, but the lack of purpose. I see empathy maps, personas etc. created for real or fictional projects, and then applicants fail to explain WHY they would use them in a project and what to learn from the artefacts. That turns an otherwise nice design process into something meaningless as they obviously didn't understand why they were doing this. – greenforest Oct 12 '18 at 19:51
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I would suggest that persona's and empathy maps are MORE important than the final product at showing your process. That said, if its a fictional project for fake users, I see no problem with you inventing some attributes.

Look at it this way, you're getting an opportunity to really practice empathy based on your experience with a population. Alternately, you could make up a fictional project to address a problem that real people who you know (family, neighbors, friends, co-workers) experience and then talk to them about it.

Plus you're gaining a deeper experience into the actual design process. So you should be documenting this struggle and using to help tell your portfolio story.

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