Joe the Plumber as a Persona

There is an interesting and active thread on the IxDA listserv about the potential of using the “Joe the Plumber” character as a Persona in design/usability. First, what is a Persona?

Personas are fictitious characters that are created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic that might use a site or product. Personas are most often used as part of a user-centered design process for designing software or online applications, in which the goals, desires, and limitations of the user are considered when designing the product. They are also considered a part of interaction design (IxD). Personas are useful in helping to guide decisions about a product, such as features, interactions, and visual design.