100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN  |  JULY 23, 2020

100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN
JULY 23, 2020

9. User Personas

9. UX Personas

Personas are a simple, yet effective way to package up all the findings you gathered from research into memorable fictional characters. It’s pivotal UX tool for helping everyone involved on the project to better understand the people you’re designing for and making user-centered design decisions.

Personas are a simple, yet effective way to package up all the findings you gathered from research into memorable fictional characters. It’s pivotal UX tool for helping everyone involved on the project to better understand the people you’re designing for and making user-centered design decisions.

User Personas

What are Personas? 

A Persona is a fictional character that represents the people who will use your product (aka the users). Pretty wordy definition, so let’s break that down by looking at an example.

Imagine you’re designing an online shoe store. You’ve identified your users and they are millennials, ages 22 to 38 who earn an average income. Let’s get even more granular and say that this specific group of users buys sneakers with the purpose of reselling them at a higher price. 

Now what a Persona would do is represent this group of users and embody their characteristics. So instead of millennials ages 22 to 38, yada, yada, yada…you would have a Persona. And this would Persona would look something like this:

  • Sydney the “Sneakerhead" 
  • 28 years old
  • Photographer living in Los Angeles, California
  • Goal: Profit from buying and reselling sneakers

Sydney would also have habits, needs and pain-points that match those of our users. But we’ll look at those later.


Personas are based on user research 

Now here’s an important caveat. Even though a Persona is a fictional character, its characteristics, including demographic info, goals, needs, habits, pain-points are very real. And that’s because they’re based on the user research you gathered with techniques like the User Interview or the Survey.

Why? Why go out of your way to create a fictional character instead of simply sharing out your research data? It’s because Personas are memorable and create user empathy. 

Think back to the description of the users I provided above. Without scrolling back up, do you remember the specifics? Probably not. Do you remember Sydney? I’ll go ahead an assume the answer is yes. 

That’s the power of Personas. They’re memorable. And if you can remember who your product is for, you’ll consider them when making design decisions. This of course, is what user empathy is all about. Making sure everyone contributing to your product knows exactly who it’s for and is able to empathize with these users. Personas help everyone put themselves in the user’s shoes and understand their goals, habits, needs and pain-points. 

And trust me, I’ve seen it work. I’ve worked on projects where months go by and people still bring up the Personas in conversations. Saying things like “I think Sydney would prefer this design…” or “this feature is for users like Sydney”. Hearing this is a sign of a successful Persona.
 

You might have multiple Personas 

Depending on your product, you might have one or multiple Personas. The number of Personas is based on the different types of people that will use your product. And typically these users groups are defined with your Stakeholders.

If we go back to the online shoe store example. In addition to users like Sydney that buy and resell sneakers, we might have a group of users that buys shoes for day to day use. We can come up with another Persona to represent this group. Maybe someone like day to day Dave.

When defining these Personas, just be sure that the user groups that they represent are sufficiently unique. If the goals, habits, needs and pain-points are too similar, consider merging multiple Personas into one. 

How to create Personas 

The information that I personally include in my Personas is the following: 

  • Name: Self-explanatory

  • Tagline: One line that really sums up the Persona (i.e. Sneakerhead)

  • Quotes: Things that Persona would say. (You can pull these directly from your User Interviews)

  • Bio: Demographic info like age, occupation, location, etc.

  • Goals: What does your Persona want (in the context of your product)

  • Habits: Things your Persona does routinely (in the context of your product)

  • Needs: Things your Persona requires (in the context of your product) 

  • Pain-points: Problems your Persona needs help solving (in the context of your product)

  • Photograph: An image of someone that represents all of the above 

In the Butter Academy Online UX Design Course we really drill into each of the sections above, providing students with examples and a template that they can use for creating their own Personas. Learn more about the course here.

What are Personas? 

A Persona is a fictional character that represents the people who will use your product (aka the users). Pretty wordy definition, so let’s break that down by looking at an example.

Imagine you’re designing an online shoe store. You’ve identified your users and they are millennials, ages 22 to 38 who earn an average income. Let’s get even more granular and say that this specific group of users buys sneakers with the purpose of reselling them at a higher price. Now what a Persona would do is represent this group of users and embody their characteristics. So instead of millennials ages 22 to 38, yada, yada, yada…you would have a Persona. And this would Persona would look something like this:

  • Sydney the “Sneakerhead"
  • 28 years old
  • Photographer living in Los Angeles, California
  • Goal: Profit from buying and reselling sneakers

Sydney would also have habits, needs and pain-points that match those of our users. But we’ll look at those later.
 

Personas are based on user research 

Now here’s an important caveat. Even though a Persona is a fictional character, its characteristics including dempographic info goals, needs, habits, pain-points are very real. And that's because they’re based on the user research you gathered with techniques 
like the User Interview or the Survey.

Why? Why go out of your way to create a fictional character instead of simply sharing out your research data? It’s because Personas are memorable and create user empathy.

Think back to the description of the users I provided above. Without scrolling back up, do you remember the specifics? Probably not. Do you remember Sydney? I’ll go ahead an assume the answer is yes.

That’s the power of Personas. They’re memorable. And if you can remember who your product is for, you’ll consider them when making design decisions. This of course, is what user empathy is all about. Making sure everyone contributing to your product knows exactly who it’s for and is able to empathize with these users. Personas help everyone put themselves in the user’s shoes and understand their goals, habits, needs and pain-points.

And trust me, I’ve seen it work. I’ve worked on projects where months go by and people still bring up the Personas in conversations. Saying things like “I think Sydney would prefer this design…” or “this feature is for users like Sydney”. Hearing this is a sign of a successful Persona. 


You might have multiple Personas 

Depending on your product, you might have one or multiple Personas. The number of Personas is based on the different types of people that will use your product. And typically these users groups are defined with your Stakeholders.

How to create Personas 

The information that I personally include in my Personas is the following: 

Name: Self-explanatory

Tagline: One line that really sums up the Persona (i.e. Sneakerhead)

Quotes: Things that Persona would say. (You can pull these directly from your User Interviews)

Bio: Demographic info like age, occupation, location, etc.

Goals: What does your Persona want (in the context of your product)

Habits: Things your Persona does routinely (in the context of your product)

Needs: Things your Persona requires (in the context of your product) 

Pain-points: Problems your Persona needs help solving (in the context of your product)

Photograph: An image of someone that represents all of the above 

In the Butter Academy Online UX Design Course we really drill into each of the sections above, providing students with examples and a template that they can use for creating their own Personas. Learn more about the course here.

Ready to learn 
UX Design?

Ready to learn
UX Design?

Get started with our online UX course.
 

Get started with our online
UX Design course.

 

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

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© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  ACCEPTABLE USE  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  AUP  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS