Personas – who are my user?

Why do we use Personas? In digital projects we try to understand who the users are. We need to know whom the new website should be designed for and how. That's why we use the Persona Model in our design process.

What are Personas and what is the advantage of this model?

Personas are fictional persons. With their help, project teams and IT decision-makers can give an identity to a potential user group that is otherwise difficult to grasp. And how does this work?

Definition of a Persona

We create a comprehensive profile of a fictional person. The person gets a name and a photo. In addition, we enrich the profile with personal data such as age, education, profession, marital status etc. With the most important task-related scenarios we describe expectations, tasks and goals of the persona. In addition, we complement her personality and her abilities: e.g. the persona is a rather cautious type and hesitantly makes her choice when deciding on insurance. He/she does not find his/her way around the digital world very well and therefore cannot operate online tools intuitively.

By personalizing this group, we can better understand the contextual tasks, needs and objectives of existing and future users.

The Persona Model from a company's perspective

Another important point concerns the companies for which a digital design product is developed: The Persona Model transforms the internal view of a company into a real external view. In this way, we can create a real product added value. The entire project team has a common understanding of the user groups and their needs. This enables us to make the right customer-focused design decisions. They also draw the interest of stakeholders.

The advantages: Good usability, good customer retention, higher conversion

Personas help to identify user groups with similar needs. From this we can analyse real user and company needs and develop a concrete product added value for customers and companies. Because:

  • With the help of personas we see the digital product to be developed through the eyes of real users.
  • The companies gain a customer-focused understanding of the market.
  • The users can orient themselves in their context task-oriented, solve their tasks purposefully and have a good user experience.
  • Customers receive real added value and customer retention is strengthened.
  • Companies can offer their digital products with good usability. Conversion is increasing.

How are the personas created? What are the methods?

This data is used to create personas

We derive personas from the empirical data of user research. We apply qualitative and quantitative methods. This data can be based on the observation of potential users in the application context. Or they come from qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys or other ethnographic techniques used.

In addition, we use user information from the following sources[1]:

  • of stakeholders and experts
  • from market research data, e.g. from analyses
  • of market segmentation models
  • from data from literature and previous studies

Modeling of personas

Based on this data we model the personas. Personas do not have to be complete and can be further developed at any time in the project. The type of modeling is not fixed either. It is important to analyse the behaviour of potential users with empirical data and to cover the following information:

  • Activities: The frequency and scope of the activities carried out.
  • Settings: What is the user's attitude?
  • Skills: What learning ability does the user have?
  • Motivation: What motivates the user?
  • Ability: What technical understanding does the user have?

How many personas does a product need?

A digital product cannot meet the needs of all users. The number of personas depends on the complexity of a product. We distinguish the following types [2]:

Primary personas

The primary persona represents the business goal for which we build a website, for example. For each primary persona there is a user interface that is developed and optimized. For example, if two primary personas are required for a product, two user interfaces are often required.

Secondary personas

The Secondary Persona is covered by the user interface of the Primary Persona. However, it has additional needs that we can take into account. But we cannot and must not interfere with the Primary Persona's user interface.

Negative personas

The negative persona represents a user group for which we do not develop the product.

Unic solutions in the design process

We are in contact with our customers. Personas workshops help our customers to identify their users and transform their business goals into added product value. Take a look at our references as an example:

Interested? Then read more about our offer:

This is how we work: Our design methods

#usercentereddesign #unicuxwerkzeugkasten

In a number of different articles we introduce you to how we work at Unic. A good design and the perfect user experience are our goal.

More articles on design methods:

User Experience: The Values Are the Experience

A short report about Kim Goodwin’s presentation during the Frontend Conference 2017 in Zurich.
I, a UX-designer myself, really enjoyed Kim Goodwin’s speech. Whenever we apply user research methods or model personas, we often fall back on her bestselling book «Designing for the Digital Age».

Always put yourself in the position of your users

In this article, I refer to Sarah Semark’s presentation at the Frontend Conference on 1 September 2017 under the theme: «Empathy for Introverts».

This keynote title really appealed to me – not so much because I consider myself to be a very introverted person but rather because I find it very important to be an emphatic person in my job as designer.