Getting to Know User Persona for UX Design
A vital part of User Experience design or pretty much any business-based technology, user persona can be defined in simple terms as a virtual representation of your typical customer. Derived from user research and web analytics a persona serves many ends for UX designers. A persona usually includes qualitative and quantitative information of a user’s personal attributes such as their behavior patterns, likes and dislikes, needs, ambitions and so on. A persona can also be defined as the collective representation of a particular demographic using a typical user which the designer can use to relate. This also provides you with a valuable tool while trying to pitch ideas to stakeholders, designers, and anyone who is involved in your project.
How do you Create One?
There are a multitude of ways for creating a persona. But the most commonly followed ones are those from user experience research methods. Through interviews, casual interaction and such, one can ascertain enough information about the user and build a profile of their general attitude, character, and behavior. While direct research methods are quite commonly used, web analytics also plays a large contributing factor. Social media websites and applications and search engines too are valuable sources of information to create such a profile.
A persona usually consists of the following aspects:
1) Personal Information
Vital information such as name, age, marital status, number of kid etc. are a staple in all personas. Usually accompanied by a photograph, this statistical information helps build a clear demographic profile of the user.
2) Environmental Data
Information pertaining to the users’ social life, work life and the technology they use and so on. This helps build a profile of the surroundings they live around and the kind of company they keep and their work ethics and profile as well.
3) Psychological Data
Information regarding their personal interests such as food, movies etc. along with their attitude, strengths, weaknesses and pain points can all be found in the persona as well. These give the profile a human touch beyond the rather mechanical statistics.
4) Personal Ambitions
One of the more inquisitive features of a persona is the information regarding goals and ambitions. While other information is quite vital, goals and ambitions provide an idea of exactly what the user needs, and how your product could influence if not help achieve it.
This is the final aspect of a persona and is created based on all the aforementioned aspects. The users are put in a typical real-life scenario and an analysis is made on how they might interact with your product.
What are the different type of user personas
While most user personas are created from actual users, to serve your marketing and designing agendas, some organizations build personas without any actual information. These are called proto-personas. While proto-personas like regular personas are used as a means of actionable insights, their information is usually the result of guesswork and experience using which people create their own image of their typical customer. The reasons for this usually are either time or budget constraints or both.
So what do you do with user personas?
The most fundamental purpose of a persona like mentioned above is to serve as a communication tool while pitching ideas with your team and anyone else who is involved in your project. For a designer, a persona serves as a guideline and inspiration to design the product for a particular demographic. All the information pertaining to the users’ emotional and psychological state along with their interests and goals allow the designer to clearly conceptualize what the product should be doing and how it will be serving them. The organization as a whole can also gain valuable insights and stay in tune with their customers’ lives.
Despite the many research tools available today, user persona serves as a reliable tool for both designers and marketers to understand the product and their users. The plethora of small information available in personas generally helps out more than elaborate details on a particular aspect of the user. Additionally, when you have access to multiple personas, the common points between them serve as a deciding factor.