What is a persona?
Personas are fictional characters/people which are created by the research team or designers, to represent different types of people that may use your product or service. Personas help designers build empathy by gaining a perspective similar to the user they are designing for, which helps designers to relate to the users life and then get the right solutions for their needs.
What does a persona include?
Every Persona should include demographics, such as, Name, Gender, Age, Income, Education, Occupation, Hobbies, Location, Biography, Job, Family. Demographics explain “who” is the user.
Personas should include psychographics: Goals, Attitudes, Worries & Fears, Hopes & Dreams, Interests, Likes & Dislikes, Challenges & Motivation, and other Behaviours. Psychographics explain “why” the user will behave in a certain way!
How one should design a persona?
Designing persona is a crucial task. You need to do good research before you start.
Targeted Customers / users:
Create personas that match each of your target users (usually 3-5). Do some research, take references, from internet for targeted customers of a particular industry, from your business’ previous projects, and so on. Having a clear idea of your targeted customers/users is the best thing!
Name and Photo
Give them each gender, a name and a photo. You should give them names and identity. Generate fictitious names from internet, download portrait photographs from free photo sharing websites. And use them as an identity of your persona. It is very important to do this task, so that while thinking further about design, you can literally talk to this person in your mind and create their psychographic details.
Different file for different personas.
You should always make a one page document for each persona you design. Having them separate allows you to think about them separately. There is not confusion and overload of the emotions, feelings, and other psychological factors.
Talk to them often
Refer to your personas often during your design process. You need to make them “part of your team” and often take suggestions from the documents. This helps in staying on the same track and not missing any detail while you are away from persona doc for design.
Is the process hard?
Many times, on design blogs and forums I see people asking question, how small businesses or startups are supposed to figure out Demographics and Psychographics of the targeted user?
Well, it is true that collecting information about the targeted customer’s dreams, goals, salaries and other details is a difficult task when you are a startup or very small business. It’s not like you will walk up to complete strangers and ask for such personal info, forget collecting enough usable data. Hence as said earlier, a lot of research is necessary before you start designing personas. It should be based on solid research, and the researcher should be able to come up with the right research plan to answer the main research goal.
There is another way you can do this. Yes, recruit participants who fit certain characteristics (set by the research team). Hiring people for the research. Bring them to your office or meet them in a cafe and give them proper idea about why you have recruited them. Then ask them some basic questions and then based on the collected data, build a persona, give it an identity, and broaden the scope of the information. You can take multiple interviews as per your necessity.
Designing personas is a very creative as well as a very crucial task. Considering as many factors as possible while designing the personas. Your products design and functionality majorly depends on the Personas. If you are a startup then you should give a special attention to the personas.