Superhero Personas

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Using personas in your testing can be a powerful tool to try and broaden your perspective and trigger new test ideas.

Thinking and acting like a certain persona can find bugs you normally wouldn’t find since it is easy to get stuck in your own way of thinking and doing things.

There are many different personas you can use but often they are created as a possible end user. Though another way to help you think a little more outside the box is to base them on different superheroes.

Say you have some scenarios you have to do every month to look out for regression, switching it up with superhero personas might make it more fun and help find new problems. Then you can switch e.g. every month to a new theme like Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Lord of the rings, Days of our lives, MacGyver or any other theme you can think of.

Every time you switch theme it forces you to think about what the characters imply and how it could effect your product and hopefully in the process give you new test ideas.

The plan is to trigger thoughts about how they could be used in your context. Maybe the superheroes mean something different to you, maybe they imply other uses of your product or maybe you need a completely different set of superheroes / theme to get your mind triggered.

Below are a couple of superheroes and some quick examples what they might represent.

What test ideas comes to mind when you think about them?

The Flash

  • Do everything as quickly as possible e.g. go through a step by step extremely fast.
  • Focus on response speed and shortcuts.


  • Do many heavy calls (upload/download large files, post big texts, …).
  • Use Big data.
  • Stress test to focus on seeing how much the system can handle.
  • Handle the product with rage, can it handle it?

Mr Fantastic

  • Re-size items (e.g. window size, screen resolutions …).
  • Use different size of strings in input fields.
  • Stretch the product as far as possible.


  • Just as Rouge can absorb the power of anyone she touches you can try and absorb the knowledge and skills of the people around you that you think are good at what they do. Find out what it is that you think they do good and copy it, try and get some pointers or even get a coaching session.

Jessica Jones

  • She is a super strong, depressed, drunk with good detective skills. So how would a smart angry drunk handle your product? Is the usability so good that even a really drunk person could handle it?


  • Jump back and forth between pages (Web swinger).
  • Are passwords saved? How does page cache work (sticky web)?
  • What does your intuition tell you to focus on (spider sense)?


  • Jump in into the middle of a state flow or do things in wrong order (teleport).


  • Well this guy can do almost everything so if you only want to use one, this might be your persona.
  • Go into the code, is there anything obvious wrong, something that is complicated and hence might contain bugs or some comment giving you a hint that the developer is unsure of that part of the code (X-ray vision).
  • What is the one worst thing that can happen to your product, try to trigger this (kryptonite).

Black Widow

  • Black Widow doesn’t possess any superpowers her abilities comes from extensive training. So even if you don’t possess a superpower for something doesn’t mean you can’t be good at it, you just need to practice.


  • Not only a persona but also your role as a tester. You need to take on the job as the world’s best detective to figure out what can be wrong, where to look and so on.
  • Do things in odd hours (nights, weekends).
  • Make use of all your skills and tools you have in your belt to attack your product in many different ways (utility belt).

Nick Fury

  • Don’t be afraid to collect a team of awesome people to help you out with the testing, collecting ideas or to understand a problem.
  • Pair testing.

Green Arrow

  • Identify and hit important/critical areas with high precision.


  • Finding some bugs can sometimes appear as magic when it is the result of good testing. It may be a good risk analysis, an understanding of how customer thinks or by being observant to the details. Although compared to a magician it is usually good to reveal your tricks to other testers to share knowledge.


  • Focus on the hardware.
  • If there are things a computer can help you with, let it.
  • If there is a tool that would help you but doesn’t exist, create it.

Mr. Mxyzptlk

  • What happens if you do everything in reverse? Start at the end.
  • Break the 4th wall (do pair testing with a developer).
  • The 5th dimension is imagination. What would you pull out of there to help you? What if you had no boundaries?

Invisible Woman

  • What happens when your app / program is minimized or runs in the background?

Wolverine / Deadpool

  • How does the system repair itself after a failure or error (regeneration)?
  • How does the product work during a long time (slow aging)?

Ant man

  • How does your product work with small values, zero, null?
  • Swarm your product with many small test scripts (army of ants).
  • How does your product handle dust or small grains of sand?

Wonder Woman

  • Use your lasso of truth on your developers to make them reveal part of the product they are worried/ashamed/oblivious of.


  • Pause/Freeze the system in different states.
  • Slow down the system (slow internet, slow computer).
  • How does your product handle cold weather (battery life, sluggish response).

Scarlet Witch

  • She has the power to alter reality, often so do you in your test environment. Create an reality that shouldn’t happen (because if might happen anyway). What can you learn from this “unrealistic” reality.

Green Lantern

  • No idea, but you can’t skip Green lantern when having a list of superheroes.


  • How does your product handle water?
  • How does your product communicate with other products (telepathy)?

Ms Marvel

  • She has a limited precognitive sixth sense, so do you. Use your sixth sense to try and feel which areas are high risk areas and focus you testing there.

Captain America

  • How does your product handle different time zones, currency and units (maybe far fetched but he is from America and I’m Swedish).
  • Are you protected from attacks (shield)?
  • What does your product do better than all competitors, how will it achieve world domination? (well you know, USA, USA, USA …).


  • How does your product handle different time zones, currency and units (maybe far fetched but he is from America and I’m Swedish).
  • Are you protected from attacks (shield)?
  • What does your product do better than all competitors, how will it achieve world domination? (well you know, USA, USA, USA …).


  • Don’t only use your eyes, what does your other senses tell you? Is there a strange sound, do you smell something, does the product get hot and so on.
  • How would you defend your product in court (lawyer)?

And don’t forget the super villains. Sometimes you need to treat your product really harsh.

Want to know more?

For more about about superheroes see this great video about “10 lessons entrepreneurs can learn from superheroes”.

All shown superheroes are owned by http://www.dccomics.com/ and http://marvel.com/

4 thoughts on “Superhero Personas

  1. […] Superhero Personas Written by: Andreas Cederholm […]

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