User Personas: Get Inside the Minds of Your Audience
But how do you know what they need? Know who they are?
Knowing your audience is vital to any organization.
In fact, your audience is your organization.
In user-centric design and marketing, personas are fictional characters created early in the design process to represent the needs, goals and tasks of a specific audience segment or user.
Personas are used to establish perceived requirements, build use cases and align stakeholders’ visions. They help focus decisions and form conversations around goals. Designers, developers, marketers and executives can use them to reflect key demographic and psychographics.
Persona development can play an integral role at the beginning of the project, as personas can inform site functionality, help uncover gaps, or highlight new opportunities. They help focus decisions and form conversations around goals.
Persona creation allows you to think beyond the design and to consider exactly what kind of content future audiences need and will appeal to them.
There are certain steps to take to ensure your personas are accurate representations of your users and have the support of your stakeholders throughout the process:
- Conduct user research and determine key characteristics. Determine who your users are and why they are using the site. What behaviours and expectations will impact their experience?
- Consider themes/characteristics are relevant to the site and organize characteristics into specific persona groups to represent target users, then name each group.
- Create a brief biography of your persona to describe who they are, where they live, their age, interests and lifestyle to establish what matters most to them. It’s often helpful to create a quote for the persona as well to give them a voice and a sense of what they’re looking for in terms of a solution, or in a product/service.
- Combine and prioritize the rough personas. Separate them by primary and secondary targets.
- Finally, flesh them out. Develop relevant and realistic descriptions of each personas background, motivations, and expectations. Consider factors like age, education, professional experience, why they’d visit the site, and what devices they would use.