Image by SIMON LEE
  • antoniodellomo

What is a user persona?

One great strategy for distilling the insights from the web analytics and from your qualitative and quantitative user research is to create from those insights user personas, who are abstract users who represent what you’ve found when you went out and looked at real users.


The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference. Remember, your User personas are archetypical users whose goals and characteristics represent the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target audience. They act as a benchmark for design teams to work with to create the optimal user experience.



Why are user personas important?

User personas help a product team find the answer to one of their most important questions, “Who are we designing for?” Moreover, a persona keeps you grounded. By knowing what a persona thinks, does, and feels, helps you build empathy; it helps you understand the states of mind, the emotions, the philosophy, the beliefs, the point of view of that user. Personas also keep designs coherent and consistent over time, rather than a scattered-shot agglomeration of features.


Make sure to give your persona a name, an occupation, a background. Include demographic information and motivation. They should come alive and feel like a real human being.



Elements of a Persona

Personas generally include the following key pieces of information:


  • Fictional name

  • A summary quote

  • Demographics such as age, education, ethnicity, and family status

  • Personal and professional information, including the user environment

  • Psychographics include details such as attitudes, interests, motivations, and pain points.

  • An end goal(s). Motivating factor that inspires action



Additional suggestions

Organize persona information in an easy to read, logical format. Depending on the amount of user research you were able to conduct and the nature of your organization. Avoid adding extra details that cannot be used to influence the design. As a good practice, you could also add a user scenario, a “day-in-the-life” narrative that describes, from the perspective of the persona, how they would interact with your product in a particular context to achieve his or her end goal(s). The scenario usually defines when, where, and how the narrative takes place.


An important aspect of user scenarios is that they can help the team understand more than what the goals of the user are. Many design teams believe the main advantage of having user scenarios is that once we establish what the user’s goal is, it becomes easier to define how the user would go about reaching that goal.



Example of User Persona

Some personas are incredibly detailed, whereas others simply offer a brief sketch of each type of user but regardless of how detailed you want to create your user persona don't forget to make sure they get your team on board!

User Persona - UX designed by Ofer Ariel. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.



Creating user personas in the design process

The research that goes into forming user personas usually happens early in the design process. In the Design Thinking process, designers often start creating personas during the second phase, the Define phase. Like most design elements, personas can be developed iteratively. Personas will be used during all later phases of a design process to inform design decisions made by the team.


Design Thinking process represented by NN/g — https://www.nngroup.com/articles/design-thinking/


Conclusion

By using real data to develop archetypical users, teams can make the design process at hand less complex. Personas are powerful tools, they guide the ideation processes and help designers to achieve the goal of creating a good UX, specifically designed for the target users.






Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash