What's your default testing persona?

Whether or not we’re aware of it, we probably all have a default testing persona.

We touched on this during a This Week in Testing call.

Reflecting on this now and being open, I guess my default testing persona is someone who wants to get the thing done with minimum fuss via the app/site I’m using. Is someone who is technically savvy and understands how to browse and navigate without any accessibility requirements. Is someone a bit forgiving when things go wrong yet is keen to raise problems when they occur and also likes to celebrate the good stuff.

There’s no right or wrong persona here yet I wonder what I’m missing during a testing session by defaulting to this persona.

  • What’s your default testing persona?
  • What can we do to become more aware of our own testing personas?
  • What’s the relationship between personas and biases?
  • How can we expand our default testing personas?
  • How can adopting various personas help our testing efforts?

Why just one?

I have at least two:

  • “I know the application good enough and do everything correctly” - What can still go wrong when I use the application with best knowledge and intentions ?
  • “I’m new to the application.” - How easily can I figure out how a feature works? How much does the application protects me from doing wrong things?

I don’t know … I seldom switch consciously between them. It is like having glasses where every glasses is one of them, I see both at the same time.
Maybe I have focus on one, but I don’t forget the other.

Also I see this personas at there extremes forms being ends of a spectrum.
Some people know more and other know less about the application.

And one more: “How can I hurt others by using the product?” - What can I destroy intentionally?
As my current product is B2B, only used by experts, I do not use this one often. But I would do it for a more public available product.


Being born in a concrete suburb but with a humanist soul, I still went engineer since all guys that did reasonably well in school did.

I can do maths, I can program but I have none whatsoever lust for it. The thing that caught my attention was Testing since it gives the right hemisphere something to do. So writing test automations, I do that well but with no spirit. Looking at a new system, coming to terms with it, finding all the bugs is one thing that gets me going.
Another one is, despite being the worst partymingler on the planet, is to communicate with people. And the testing role puts one in a very nice situation, to get stuff going, no need for any prestige, you only have to be polite and with focus on getting stuff going. I’m like Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction - I solve problems.

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My default testing persona is “first time user”.

  • I don’t know anything.

  • I will not assume anything

  • I will decide to buy this if I feel amazed by this

  • I want to read tooltips, instructions, and whatever is available.


My default persona is that of an avid explorer.

  • Explore all possible paths through a workflow to determine which I prefer

  • Use areas of the application that are less popular.

  • Have unusual data input compared to others.

  • Also knows about common security holes in software and likes to explore the applications that I use to feel confident about their ability to protect her information.

  • Attempt to exploit an application by injecting SQL and JavaScript code into input fields, manipulating URLs to access private information, violating input constraints with invalid data, and deliberately generating numerous error messages.

  • Access the application outside of local business hours from multiple locations and time zones, using various browsers, operating systems, and devices; contend with occasional slow and unreliable network connectivity; employ different keyboard layouts; and enter personal information containing foreign language characters.

  • Take time to read each screen while using the application slowly, frequently using the ‘Back’ button to review previous information, enlarging the interface font through browser settings or zoom, and needing simple, clear interfaces to successfully complete a task.

This is my answer to the first part of the question.

To become more aware of our testing personas we can

  • Reflect on user stories to identify favored and neglected testing scenarios.
  • Seek feedback from colleagues to uncover overlooked user perspectives.
  • Document your testing process to identify patterns and biases.
  • Experiment with role-playing to assume various user roles during testing.
  • Personas represent archetypal users, often influenced by our biases.
  • Familiarity Bias: Testing in a familiar way, risking oversight of edge cases.
  • Confirmation Bias: Emphasizing expected results while missing unexpected behaviors.
  • Halo Effect: Positive impressions overshadowing potential flaws in features or products.
  • Recognizing these biases underscores the importance of using diverse testing personas to address them.

Overall it determines the way we percieve an application and contributes to how we test is my understanding.

To expand our default testing personas we can

  • Include diverse user stories, considering various demographics, abilities, and technical expertise.
  • Collaborate with diverse testers to gather a range of insights and perspectives.
  • Test with accessibility tools to ensure inclusivity and adherence to accessibility guidelines.
  • Think by challenging assumptions and testing unconventional scenarios or stress conditions.

Adopting various personas can help in our testing efforts to

  • Identify edge cases, providing a more comprehensive and thorough testing outcome.
  • Enhance user experience by ensuring accessibility and usability for a wider audience.
  • Reduce biases, leading to more objective and diverse testing.
  • Improve product quality by minimizing overlooked bugs and usability issues.
    By combining these strategies, you can broaden your testing persona, enhancing the quality and inclusivity of your testing process.

I would say it’s something like Strategic innovator lol :sweat_smile:
Skilled in QA with a knack for prioritizing high-impact issues and leveraging real-life effective testing approaches. I focus on delivering robust, user-centric software efficiently, often adopting different tools and methodologies to improve product quality and meet business goals. I’m adept at leading teams and focusing on security issues, ensuring that my testing strategies align closely with company standards.
This is just from the top of my head, I’ve never thought about any testing personas lol.

Speaking about other questions and the concept of testing a person in general, I think it’s not important, so there is no need to become aware of it and to do something with it, I’m not really sure that this might be used as a real term, and/or professional characteristics. There are much more other things that are more important such as working style, soft skills, learning and adaptability qualities, hard skills, experience, etc :wink:

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This looks like a GPT response. Are you using it to reframe your answers?

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I have used the following
The Book Explore it by Elisabeth Hendrickson
katrina the testers blog and my understanding
lastly a video by Siri Murthy

Yes i initially wrote my thoughts and used gpt to reframe my responses


My testing persona takes different shapes as the SDLC progresses for any given story/release.
Usually I start off with Dee Dee from Dexter:
“Oooo what does that button do?”

Then I switch to Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear/Grand Tour:
“What can possibly go wrong?”

Then I throw in a bit of a recent meme trend to pretend a frequent user:
“What’s that brother?”

Then the end is usually that guy from Chernobyl:
“Not great not terrible”

My default testing persona is typically a software tester or quality assurance engineer who is looking for guidance or information related to testing methodologies, tools, best practices, and related topics.

What a great question and idea to give yourself testing persona. Never thought about this. Always have thought about personas in project situations.

I like part of the comments and personas written down and am going to think about a persona (or maybe different persona) for myself.

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Grumpy old person

  • Basically someone who is, much like Simon, only wanting to do one thing, and have minimum fuss.
  • Someone with vision difficulties.

To the latter end I’m looking for discoverability and navigation that is consistent and almost guides you to your outcome without the user realising that the computer is getting in the way of their task at all with all of it’s checking of inputs and criteria along the way. The app must help the first time user to do the thing correctly, frictionless.



Personas are made-up depictions of different user kinds that are based on research into target markets. These personas might be created and interpreted differently due to biases. For example, unconscious biases in the study or the designers’ work may result in stereotyped or false personalities that influence marketing tactics and product design. To reduce biases, it is imperative to make sure that the persona-development process is inclusive and grounded in a variety of real-world data.

For detailed view, refer this:Can Your Personas be Biased? – The Persona Blog