What are User Personas, why are they important and how can you create them?
If you wish to have a successful career in UX, you will certainly use the term “user persona” a lot. To put it simply, personas are a powerful tool that guides ideation phases and helps designers achieve the goal of creating a good UX for their target audience.
User personas allow you to step into the shoes of your user groups and understand their needs and motivations, in order to foresee multiple obstacles that users might face on your website.Think of it as a magical crystal ball that shows you the future.
So, if you really wish to know how you can define these user personas, you must first understand what they are exactly and how they can play a key role in the success of your business.
Hungry to learn more about this? Why not lend us your attention for the next minute and enjoy our fair share of UX wisdom.
What exactly is a persona?
A persona is a profile that represents a larger group of individuals, such as a category of clients, users, marker segments etc. This crucial UX tool allows you to find the best design solutions to solve problems and create more human-friendly products and experiences.
Even though they are fictional, it is highly important to note that personas should never be perceived as stereotypes based on a generic demographic segmentation. As a matter of fact, Netflix once bluntly stated that “Geography, Age, and Gender Are ‘Garbage’ for Predicting Taste”.
Instead, they represent a meticulous result of a well conducted research that will help you break down what your users expect from your business. This research will incorporate the specific needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target market and will grant you a flawless UX perspective.
Why are user personas so valuable?
User personas are a vital and strategic factor that will allow you to truly define your target audience. If you want to create an outstanding product, whether it was a mobile app or a responsive website, you need to truly understand WHO you are designing this product for. This is where User personas step in.
As one of the main pillars of the UX design process, personas will allow you to invest your efforts in identifying your user’s expectations and concerns based on their current behavioral patterns. By doing so, you will improve their overall experience, and boost empathy within their circles.
In other words, when you have a clear understanding of your target audience’s end goals along with the issues they face within a given context, you will possess the best guide to refer to when working on your product’s features and design elements, making it even more useful and desirable to your market.
How to create a user persona?
There are multiple step by step templates, guidelines and references that explain how to create personas. In this article, and after substantial research, we tried as much as possible to simplify the key pieces of this process. So we will skip the boring details and cut to the chase to provide you with the ultimate tips on how to do this right:
1- Cherish Real Data
Let’s make one thing clear: we are working on a business document, not a fictional novel. That is why it’s very important to have actual field research on hand when creating accurate and valuable personas. After all, knowledge is power, and your personas will only be as competent as the solid data supporting them.
Usually, a closer look at your qualitative and quantitative data would require both observation and collected interviews of real users who represent your target audience. In case your time or budget does not cover this extensive user research, you can always try to analyze the social media research insights of competitive products by observing how users interact with them. You can also go for customer tailored surveys that will grant you answers for your specific questions and help you collect the required data in no time.
2- Make Sure You Have Super Detailed User Bios
Sure, the name and image of your personas can be fictional. However, their demographic details will be based on facts and will help serve as a compass to your required goals by allowing you to fully understand their background and behavioral patterns. To do this you should consider 4 factors:
- Personal background: gender, age, education, family status, social status…
- Professional history: profession, work position, work experience…
- User context: description of the physical, social and technological user’s environment.
- Psychographics: user’s interests,values, opinions …
3- Introduce Your Persona To Your Team
Personas have a huge advantage as they can humanize the cold data that is based on factual numbers and charts alone. It may seem silly at first, but once you breathe life into your personas and make them familiar with your team, you will be able to grasp their real value and understand the end goals of your ideal customers in real life. Once you Identify your users with the team, being in their shoes will become so much easier.
4- Fortify Your UX Fort By Creating Multiple Scenarios
Personas have no real value if they are paired with a scenario. A scenario is an imagined situation that will allow designers to understand their users’ motivations, needs, fears when interacting with your product in a particular context. These scenarios are always envisioned based on each persona’s perspective.
Here and only here, will you be able to visualize all kinds of situations your target audience might experience on their user journey and create design solutions..
One last tip before you leave
Now that we’ve reached the end of our article, we hope that the above info will serve you in creating a super successful product. But before you leave, we’ll share one more tip with you to give you a solid informative base: when creating personas, don’t forget to focus on the context of the product you’re working on. By doing so, you will avoid useless details that might derail your focus, and include valuable info that will serve your design purpose. For example, if your product is a restaurant app, you would not need to know if John is into fast cars etc.
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