IXD 301 – Elements Project – User Persona Research

What are User Personas?

User personas are a user-centered design with a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Personas can be created by talking to users and segmenting by various demographic and psychographic data to improve your product. While they can be used to represent a user type they can also provide valuable to your target audience by 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 used most commonly to improve overall user experience within a design.

 

What does a User Persona include?

A user persona will usually include key details about the user, since the persona is of one person who represents a user type their user persona will consist of;

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job title/responsibilities
  • Bio
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Marital Status
  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Motivations
  • Environment
  • Technology knowledge
  • Wants and needs
  • Photo

How are they created?

Interviewing potential users is a great way to find the information you need. There is no need to interrogate them, even just a friendly chat with someone while asking them about things you cant observe such as;

What is your main goal when using this product?

or

How confident are you with technology?

 

These ofcourse are just examples. The more people you interview the more you can start to observe patterns and gain more insight into them. User interviews can be a great way to extract information from users for user experience understanding, usability understanding and ideation. They are cheap and easy to conduct and can be readily conducted by anyone who can ask questions and record the answers. From this you can then compile the information into user peronas to use for your design.

 

So what makes them so important?

The importancy of these is so that you don’t design something based upon your own assumptions. It can be very easy to just assume what your users need and what will satify their needs. This is where the rabbit hole begins and you become disconnected with the audience you are making the app for, the more you go down the hole the more disconnected you become to the point where the app will be unusable by anyone. User Peronas keep us on track, they show us things we maybe didn’t consider at first.

They are great for staying connected to your users, afterall they are real people with real problems which require you to adapt to and work around. The better connected you are with your audience the better accessible the product will be in the end up.

We must never underestimate the power of User Peronas. They provide a lot of good insight, when it comes to making mine I will have to consider what I’ve said above.

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