User personas are fictional, data-driven representations of target users that help UX designers and researchers better understand their users’ needs, goals, behaviours, and preferences.
User personas focus on the behaviours of real users and provide a shared vision of the target audience, guiding consistent and informed decisions during the design and development stages.
Introduction to user personas
A persona is a representation of a typical existing or desired user group and is shown in the form of a fictional (but realistic) person. It often includes information such as description, attributes and traits, motivations and behaviours, challenges or pain points and typical actions. Personas are formed by data gathered from user research such as surveys, interviews, and other sources of user research so that they are based on real user insight. Alternatively, proto-personas are not based on real user insight but rather on the assumptions and pre-existing knowledge of users from stakeholders.
What are personas, and why are they important?
Personas are powerful tools that facilitate user-centred design as they serve as reference points throughout product development. Personas are important as your team can ensure that any design decisions made align with the needs and expectations of the target audience. As a result, the digital product is more likely to meet the users’ needs and, therefore, provide a delightful user experience.
The role of personas
Personas typically function as an extension of your team, as they can be referred to as a reflection of your target audience.
Benefits of personas
Personas facilitate faster discussion and decision-making, function as a gateway to future research, and empower your wider team with a greater understanding of and empathy for your target audience. They create a shared vocabulary across your teams while challenging the team’s own preconceived notions of how your audience might behave. When faced with limited resources or time constraints, user personas can assist in prioritising features based on their relevance.
Firstly, we use user research methods such as surveys, interviews, social listening, discussions with stakeholders and a review of existing information and data to define your audience. Next, we uncover broad journey stages and touchpoints and identify behaviours, motivations, pain points and opportunities of users before reporting key themes that inform the persona creation. Following this, we develop the personas with a name, age, role, background story and quote, as well as an abbreviated journey map of their behaviours, touchpoints, motivations and pain points. Finally, we document the personas where all of the information gathered comes to life and is visualised in the form of a poster.
Why choose Make it Clear
At Make it Clear, we take an evidence-based approach to everything we do. Understanding your organisation, audiences, and the context in which they interact is paramount to how we work and deliver a best-in-class user experience.
Can you provide examples of user personas you've created for other clients or projects?
Yes, please book a call and we’d be happy to talk you through our relevant projects.
How many user personas do you typically create for a project, and how do you decide on the number?
This will typically be discussed in the scoping and kick off stages of the project. We generally recommend between three and five personas. Three supports easier decision making between the personas, whereas more than five becomes challenging to cater to all audiences and difficult for teams to keep in mind details of all persona types. In some instances when creating more than three personas we recommend adding a weighting to each persona to identify priorities.
How do you ensure that user personas are actionable and useful for our purpose?
During the initial project stages we will understand the usecase for your personas and look to understand in more detail your organisation and objectives. We then tailor the structure of the persona documents to ensure it is relevant to your purpose.