Personas - The Framework for a Great User Experience
The creation of personas will ensure that your website or mobile app is designed for an optimal user experience, resulting in higher engagement from your target audience.
User experience is about creating the best possible experience for the user of a system or product, so that their needs are met and that they enjoy using that system or product. User experience has a major focus on the user. What are their needs, behaviours and frustrations? How can I use that information to design a system that ticks all of those boxes?
Personas are a great framework for understanding your users and an excellent reference for making key decisions about what your website or app should do.
What are personas?Personas are fictional characters that represent key segments of your audience that may use your product, service, website or app. Based on user research data, personas collate the findings of your user research and help identify the needs, behaviours and goals of your users. In a 2016 report, Gartner identified personas as being “defined by his or her goals”. They are an essential reference for creating user journey maps and for making informed design decisions.
Why use personas?Ultimately you want to gain your customer’s loyalty and there is no better way to achieve this than truly understanding who they are and optimising the experience for them. Here are 5 reasons why personas are important to sales and marketing success:e
- Developing personas will help put you in the shoes of the audience segment that you are designing for. Whenever there is a design decision, you can refer to your personas and ask what your persona/s would want from this experience.
- They combine very well with user journey maps as you can create journeys tailored to enhance the experience of each particular persona.
- They are a very useful guide for targeting a sales or marketing segment with stronger value propositions and engagement approaches.
- Personas are an excellent reference point for developing loyalty programs as they delve into the needs and behaviours of market segments.
- Communication approaches and brand messaging can be unified by using personas as a reference point when targeting audiences.
- The anatomy of a good persona
- Demographic data such as age, gender, education and marital status.
- A name to allow you to refer to the persona.
- A photo to represent the persona.
- A fictional backstory to give the persona some realism and to put them into context for what you are designing.
- Lifestyle, interests, behaviours, goals, values, needs, limitations, attitudes and desires. .
- For digital projects it is useful to list and rate the user’s level of familiarity with technology such as social media, internet usage, app usage or any other technology aspect that is relevant to the project.
- Any topical commentary or findings that are applicable to the project. For example, if you were developing a travel app then you would want to list travel preferences, goals and behaviours for the persona.
What is the anatomy of a good persona?
A persona is usually a one page asset that brings your user or users to life. It provides a snapshot of the key attributes of each persona that anyone can pick up and immediately understand the characteristics of your target audience. Here are the key areas to focus on when creating a persona:
How do we create personas?
Good UX designers will guide you through a thorough process to ensure accurate and useful personas are developed and agreed upon.
1. Collect Data - we typically conduct interviews to capture rich qualitative data such as people’s opinions, preferences, behaviours and other relevant data. If any existing data is available, then we will review those as well.
2. Form an assumption - we analyse the data, looking for patterns and then form some assumptions about the audience segments.
3. Validate assumptions - we then validate our assumptions by running a survey that will quantify some of the data we have already gathered
4. Give life to the persona - we then take all of this rich qualitative data and quantitative results, create the persona and give it the attributes listed in the anatomy section above.
5. Present the personas to stakeholders and gain acceptance - we will then present the personas and the main research findings to stakeholders to gain approval or feedback.
6. Disseminate - we will then present the personas and the main research findings to stakeholders to gain approval or feedback.
ConclusionUnderstanding your target audience is fundamental to creating digital assets that will produce an awesome user experience. Members of your sales and marketing team should be involved when developing personas. The process will provide a deep understanding of your target audience, their expectations, concerns and motivations. This will provide a solid foundation for which to create assets that deliver the ROI you are seeking. Watch your engagement and conversion rates increase!