What is a user persona?
A user persona is a semi-fictional figure designed to represent the many types of customers who use a company’s products or services and are represented by the character. They are semi-fictional because they are not based on a specific human, but their traits should be derived from observation of actual users in the real world.
User personas are fictionalized representations of real people who are representative of a company’s primary client base. They are written as if the individual were genuine, but they also reflect characteristics shared by a group of people.
User personas are created to provide a credible and realistic reflection of how a business could expect a group of individuals to engage with a product, service, or campaign.
The history of User Personas
The concept of persona was first introduced in the early 1990s, when researchers began to analyze how people used information technology systems, using concepts such as “user archetypes,” “user models,” and “lifestyle snapshots.”
After gaining a grasp of cohorts and behavior patterns, it was possible to create a single profile that would serve as the representative of a specific group.
The Benefits of a User Persona
It is highly advantageous for a company’s product development and sales tactics, and marketing campaigns to have a user persona that has been well researched, analyzed, and data-driven.
User personas ensure that company initiatives (such as marketing or product development) are carried out with the User’s best interests at the forefront of all decisions.
In terms of product development, this involves staying away from the production of redundant features or products by going back to the actual demands of the users. Instead of focusing on what designers or engineers desire to construct, efforts are focused solely on what a user persona would find beneficial or practical to have on their computer.
User personas are also used to determine whether or not the target audience will use and engage with a product in the manner that has been anticipated or wanted.
Marketing plans are also more effective when developed with a user persona at their core. A reference should be made to what would be appealing to the primary audience, represented by the user persona, in the tone of voice, distribution channels, and advertising techniques.
Sales initiatives that include when and how to approach prospects, whether through phone calls, emails, or meetings, are improved due to the development of a user persona profile as the basis for the project.
Typical difficulties of designing user personas
Creating in-depth user personas typically necessitates a significant investment of time and resources, resulting in user personas that are too high-level and do not adequately represent the population that a company is attempting to reach.
As a result, companies can save money by conducting a small number of user interviews or relying on tiny sets of user data and extrapolating widely from this small starting point. This invariably results in user personas that are unreliable or very speculative.
Worse is when working teams do not conduct any research activities but instead meet together and create user profiles based on their instincts or personal experiences. Personas developed in this manner are troublesome because they are influenced by internal bias from team members who prejudge or predetermine a user’s requirements.
Specific qualities of specific users can be over-or under-appreciated based on a bit of observation of them.
The use of poorly executed user personas, or the usage of personas that are built to self-validate what a team wants to hear, can have the opposite impact of their stated purpose, which is to offer an external point of validation that is reflective of users.
Examples for a User Persona
To help you gain a better understanding of the concept, we illustrated User in the following examples:
Personas with a specific goal
Rather than the problem itself, a goal-directed persona concentrates on the methodology or strategy that a user employs to solve it.
By establishing the procedures and workflows that a user would follow, you can understand how a user would interact with or utilize a product. Because of this, this user persona is related to user experience (UX) and product development activities.
Personas based on roles
It is possible to understand where a persona is in an organization and how that influences their behavior and decision-making by creating a role-based persona.
This user persona aspires to widen the perspective from a goal-directed perspective to one that considers how a job function and environment may affect the User’s demands on a product or service.
Engaging user personas are a comprehensive representation of a persona that provides designers with as much information as possible to engage with. The traits of this persona are expanded out, and they range from their emotions and social history to their psychology.
There is a strong emphasis on developing stories that bring the persona to life. This technique improves design processes by assisting teams in actually imagining a person and, as a result, delivering a higher-quality product.
How to Create a User Persona
● Conduct extensive research before creating a persona to ensure that your personas genuinely represent your users.
● After gathering enough qualitative and quantitative information, divide it into personal groups that reflect your ideal clients.
● Remember to concentrate on the primary requirements of the most influential user groups—you can’t and shouldn’t strive to be everything to everyone!
● You may transform your user groups into user personas once you have them.
Creating a user persona serves as a reference point throughout the development cycle, allowing developers to guarantee that the product’s advancement is consistent with actual user needs.
Through the use of question types such as “How would Paul, Sarah, and Amir feel about change X feature Y or change Z?” and “How would Paul, Sarah, and Amir react, experience, or behave concerning change X feature Y or change Z,” you can prioritize empathy with the User over internal business demands and preferences.