The Role Of Personas In User Experience Design
- Posted by GM, Digital Solutions
- On August 19, 2021
- Buyer Personas, CX, Experience Design, Marketing, Persona Marketing, Personas, Target Audience, User Experience, UX
Creating personas is a crucial step in the Discovery Phase of every Experience Design project. Personas are fictional characters that represent groups of real humans who buy products, purchase services, and subscribe to platforms. The purpose of creating personas is to force product teams to think hard about who they are attempting to attract and engage through their company’s offerings.
Digital organizations create personas based on in-depth qualitative and quantitative research. Through this information gathering, product teams come to understand the desires, actions, and experiences of target audience members. These variables are all useful for businesses in determining how to win customers and keep them over the long term. Without thorough research, product teams don’t have a clear direction on how to invest their time and resources.
The Essentials Of Creating User Personas
The key to creating high-quality user personas is to gather rich data about people who have shown interest in a company’s products and services. Product designers have to avoid the tendency to inject personal biases into their work and instead obsess over solving their customers’ pain points. At the same time, personas have to be realistic enough that they represent a specific type of user who really does exist.
Companies can collect data for user personas in a number of ways. Surveys and interviews with target audience members are always valuable. Observation data, such as recordings that depict user interactions with digital products can be even more insightful, as it reveals how people actually engage.
If these data types aren’t available, companies can use web analytics or lean on competitive intelligence until they can validate hypotheses with real data. However, the goal is for all content in a user persona to tie back to quantitative information in some way. Insights should be considered conjecture or temporary until this is true.
The amount of data required to create an accurate persona depends on many factors. A good rule of thumb is to get enough information so that product teams can identify patterns, trends, and behaviors that correlate strongly with purchasing decisions down the road. These are the details that then flesh out a persona.
Furthermore, personas should focus on current state characteristics (again, for fictional individuals). In general, personas should include:
- An image of a representative person
- Demographic details, such as name, age, location
- Biographical data describing the person’s personality, family life, etc.
- Behavioral characteristics, including relevant hobbies and interests
- Pain points or problems that the company’s solutions aim to solve
Well-researched personas with these contextual details are powerful tools when it comes to developing a product strategy. They serve as filters during the ideation phase that helps to keep teams on track. Rather than chase every creative idea that comes across the table, product teams can focus more effectively on what they know will resonate with end-users based on quality persona research.
For those just getting started in this area, there are numerous design tools out there for building personas and modeling user profiles. These tools are helpful for validating early design hypotheses in a cost-efficient manner, which is important for maximizing ROI and minimizing financial risk.
Templates and Tools For Building User Personas For Experience Design
Tools and templates for building user personas are fairly easy to find across the web. A simple Google search will return a number of helpful results, four of which are included below. These examples are widely used by professionals across the industry and a great starting point for product teams looking to revamp their user experience design processes.
Miro and Figma provide persona templates that are popular and community-driven. Miro’s works well during research and gathering data about a persona. Figma has a template that auto adapts the layout as your content changes. There is also Adobe Spark Post, a free app within the Adobe Spark Starter Plan suite, which comes with multiple visually appealing persona templates. Users can also create their own designs if none of the templates align with the product team’s vision.
Xtensio offers a popular user persona template, as well as a how-to guide describing much of what was explained above. The platform also makes it easy for product teams to collaborate remotely via the cloud and apply their company’s unique branding to documents.
Although most digital companies build 1-2 personas, some prefer to create light presentations that lend more to storytelling. Piktochart offers a Persona Introduction template that helps users tell a story about target customers in an elegant, longer-form manner.
Back in 2004, George Olsen from Interaction by Design created an in-depth toolkit describing how to create a user persona. Olsen explains how to source information about personas, how to gather useful biographical data, how to apply context to personas, and much more.
Beyond these four, there are countless other templates and tools available. With a little bit of research, product teams can easily find what they need for their unique business and brand.
Creating Customer Personas With Daitan Experts is Just Part of a Complete Experience Design Project
Daitan uses customer personas often with clients to help product teams stay on track and deploy development resources in the direction of high-value opportunities. Our engineers enable stakeholders to understand the importance of using customer personas in user experience design, always keeping overarching business goals in mind.
To learn more about how Daitan has implemented customer personas to drive results for digital companies, access our executive’s guide to experience design success below.