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3D Personas

EDevelopment of immersive customer archetypes

We visit intuitive 3D personas in their respective homes, share important interior details, and listen to an interview that brings the persona closer than ever before.
a high resolution render of two vr personas in an interview setting


How can we communicate complex data in a simple way? We have taken up this challenge together with DrivenBy. DrivenBy GmbH was founded in 2019 as a spin-off of the Chief Customer Office of Allianz and pursues data-based innovation projects according to the datasign thinking® approach. Part of this task is to extract relevant target groups from a population of numerous, regularly conducted detailed interviews, aggregate their data and make it usable for others. But how can this be done as simply, accessibly, and intuitively as possible for a diverse group of stakeholders? After all, a successful innovation team should combine as many interdisciplinary competencies as possible and not just consist of data analysts.


The most common tool for communicating user types in the product development process is personas. The idea of personas was first introduced by Alan Cooper (1999) Alan Cooper (1999) The Inmates are Running the Asylum DOI in his book »The Inmates are Running the Asylum«. He saw personas as a way to help software developers design better products. Personas played a crucial role in making users' needs understandable. In general, personas are fictional, detailed, archetypal characters that represent different groupings of behaviors, goals, and motivations. Calde et al. (2002) Steve Calde, Kim Goodwin and Robert Reimann (2002) SHS Orcas: The first integrated information system for long-term healthcare facility management ACM . In practice, unfortunately, personas are often not used properly or to their full potential. We often encounter them in the form of onepagers, PowerPoint presentations, or roll-ups. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and can thus lead to misunderstandings. This thwarts the actual purpose of personas as a tool for promoting shared mental models Blanco et al. (2014) Eric Blanco, Franck Pourroy and Serap Arikoglu (2014) Role of Personas and Scenarios in Creating Shared Understanding of Functional Requirements: An Empirical Study Springer Link . Personas therefore seem to be a suitable method in principle, but the choice of adequate communication media offers potential for optimization.

However, virtual reality offers us a way to close this gap. Instead of getting to know the persona via a profile, we can visit them directly in their living room. This way, we not only get to know the personas themselves, but also gain a deep insight into their lives. Every detail of the home can tell us something about the cutomer group. Throughout the design process, we follow the dogma: „Everything you see is there for a reason“.


The development process can be divided into three phases: (1) the generation of the persona from quantitative data, (2) the virtual staging, and (3) the selection of the representation technique - adapted to the later purpose:

a flowchart of how the vr persona is developed

A lot of basic information about the respective user group can already be mapped by static content: For example, apartment size and location (urban or rural) can already exemplify the corresponding customer archetype. In addition, our homes - the rooms we spend time in every day, where we laugh, cry, work or relax - offer a very special insight into our character. Pictures on the wall tell us something about relationship status, vacation spots or hobbies. A look in the kitchen tells us something about the last purchase and the consumer habits associated with it. The contents of the desk, for example, can provide information about financial status or currently pending organizational tasks such as repairs, taxes or insurance. This list can be continued almost indefinitely.

At some point, however, we reach the limit of the content that can be conveyed via house and furniture alone. What is going through our persona's mind at the moment? What worries are driving them and what are their goals for the future? The easiest way is for the persona to tell us themself. The tool of choice here is animated sequences captured with face and body capture technology.

But to stay true to the credo - "Everything you see is there for a reason" - why not see for yourself?

Dr. Olaf Tidelski

« proband15 caught our eye and together we wanted to analyze the potential of the Metaverse for our company. The result is convincing in every respect: The team not only dispelled the myth of the term Metaverse, but also developed such a high-quality solution with us at an incredible speed that I now take it with me everywhere. I'm thrilled to see how much know-how can go into creativity. If you really want to immerse yourself in virtual reality, proband15 is the place to go. »

Dr. Olaf Tidelski

Managing Director Allianz Kunde und Markt GmbH, CEO Driven By GmbH
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