Empathy. A feeling that helps you go beyond the phrase ‘I can understand’. Because when you’re being empathetic towards someone, you not only understand but also can feel or have felt whatever is in context.
Empathy thus becomes a natural part of our daily lives. It promotes a deeper connection and compassion with those around you. When you’re breaking into the design, this feeling of empathy will become a core value.
User Personas are a great way to use this core value in pushing the boundaries of user experience in your design. In this article, we will go through what user persona is and why it matters in design.
What is User Persona?
Have you ever written a short story or a book? If you have, then you know what goes into creating fictional characters that bind your plot, act in them, and lead the story to its end. User Persona is something similar.
A user persona is the fictional representation of your ideal user which fills the gap between context, motivation, and needs of your users. As a designer, you’re going to build a lot of user personas throughout your career.
Creating user personas, after your market research, helps in identifying what your ideal users want out of your product. This user persona, which is an archetype represents a larger group of users and is usually presented in a one-page document.
Some tips for ideal User Persona:
A user persona for new experiences isn’t the same as a marketing persona or buyer persona.
A user persona should be based on data and research, and shouldn’t be a projection of what you guess the target audience looks like.
A user persona does not and cannot cover all audiences, instead, it can represent the most common audience.
A user persona isn’t permanent. As your users grow with your product, the user persona is also going to require updates.
3 categories of User Persona
There are 3 different categories that teams can list user personas depending on research data.
These are lightweight personas that have been created without any new research. In short, it’s based on the best guess from a UX team about who their users are and what they want from the product.
Proto Persona is well suited for the Lean UX approach and is helpful in cataloging your team’s disorganized assumptions about the user. However, since proto personas aren’t based on research, they are often inaccurate for the user persona profile.
A qualitative Persona is the best possible approach when creating a user persona because it is based on research. This research includes interviews, either in full sessions or as a field study.
Qualitative Persona is accurate and provides you with key insights about what a user expects from your product and what would motivate them more to use it. The only con of a qualitative approach is that they aren’t based on a large sample (usually 5-30 users) so it isn’t possible to proportionate the users into further categories.
Statistical Persona is like the fusion of qualitative and quantitative research. It is dependent on collecting data through surveys on a large sample of your user base.
It is labor-intensive and you must have a greater working knowledge of your user’s expectations and needs to create that survey.
With a large sample, you can be confident enough that there aren’t any outliers and can categorize them.
Why are User Personas important?
You can create an amazing product if you can understand your target audience well. User personas help you answer the most important question “Who are you designing for?”. Apart from understanding your users’ concerns, motivations, and expectations, user personas help you create exceptional products.
Some reasons why user personas are important:
It builds empathy
It provides direction for decisions
Great communication channel for research results
User Persona is the most effective tool in a designer’s arsenal. If you do it correctly, then user personas can simplify your design process. User personas guide your ideation process and assist the team of designers in achieving their goal of creating the best UX for their target audience. User Persona also allows designers to be more mindful of their work and keep users at the center of everything that they do.