IXD301: User Persona Research

What are user personas?

User personas are short documents that include information about a typical user. This is used to represent a wider range of users, making it more likely for their needs to be met. This means you can design for specific users and know their exact goals and needs. They are commonly used in design to improve the overall user experience.

 

What is included?

  • Name
  • Job title/responsibilities
  • Bio
  • Demographics e.g., age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, education, etc.
  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Motivations
  • Environment (physical, social, etc.)
  • Technology knowledge
  • Wants and needs
  • Quotes of what matters most to them
  • Photo

These are some of the things I will include in my user personas. Already, I can see the benefit of putting the time into creating these as it will help when making design decisions.

 

How are they created?

Interviewing potential users is a great way to find the information you need. It’s good to ask open-ended questions because you might find out something you didn’t consider. It’s important to ask them about things you cant observe. Some example questions include:

  • What is your main goal when using this product?
  • Is there anything preventing you from doing this?
  • Is there any way to make this process easier?
  • What are your general job objectives?
  • How familiar are you with technology?

Once you collect the information, you can start to see patterns within it. Once you have a deeper understanding of the users, it’s easier to make them the centre focus.

 

Why are they important?

User personas are important so that you aren’t basing design decisions on your assumptions. I think it’s easy to assume you know everything about your user. However, it is impossible to know everything when there is such a variety with different needs.

They help build empathy. I feel that when designing, it’s easy to forget that you are making something for real people. Having these documentations on what real people are struggling with can make you more motivated to help them and solve problems. I think it really makes you realize how different people’s needs can be from each other and how you can design with everyone in mind.

In general, there is a huge difference between designs based on user personas and those which are not. Usually, they are much more effective, usable, and valuable.

 

Examples:

Link to my Pinterest board:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lgilmore401/user-personas/

 

To conclude, I found it very beneficial researching more into user personas and I have learned a lot. This has set me up for creating my own user personas in my current projects and future ones. I can refer to this when the time comes as a reminder of the process and why they are so important.

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