Creating personas

Personas (user profiles) are a snapshot of your target audience whom the product you are creating for. The visual representative of your research findings can help the wider team understand the problem the users are facing. However, what tends to happen is once the personas are created and shared, they’re never used or even revisited.

I’ve been on projects where we (the UX research team) have gone out into the field to conduct qualitative research through observations, interviews and contextual inquiries only to summarise our findings by creating a persona and never using them again. This is where it fails! Why let all that hard work go to waste?

The visual representative of your research findings can help the wider team understand the problem the user(s) are facing

Instead, each different personas should be created covering every type of user group and be pinned up on the wall and constantly be referred back too. This physiologically helps the designers and developers ensure the project is on track to cater to the user’s needs at a glance. If under time constraint, the personas should be used as a check mark to ensure the final delivery solves the users pain points.

Below I highlight some of the key data to include when designing a persona. Remember not to spend too much time in getting this pixel perfect. They’ve been split into two groups to allow a 50/50 use of a page.

Introduction

  • Name: Using a user’s first name helps remember them quickly and easily
  • Tag line: In a couple of words, next to the user’s name, state his/her pain
  • Bio: A brief summary highlighting the user’s background and issues faced
  • Characteristics: Keywords about the user’s behaviour
  • Interests: Use images to showcase what brand, hobby or activities they enjoy

Profile

  • Image: A snapshot of the user in their natural environment
  • Age range: Sense of age gives more meaning
  • Location: This helps towards a mental model
  • Likert scale: If using surveys this is a great way display their choices
  • Quote: A sentence about their problem taken from interviewing them

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