The benefits of User Personas when designing the ultimate User Experience

We will explain what User Personas are, what they are not, why every Designer should use them when building interfaces that target specific User Groups.

What are User Personas?

User experience designers (UX) use so called user personas in their creative process because they give answers to three simple questions related to building the best possible product presentation: “Who? What? Why?”. Personas are fictional characters that designers use to develop an accurate customer profile. They are part of intense product development strategies, and, with their help, companies achieve higher customer satisfaction rates.

But how a simple character sheet improves usability and connects vendors with their most potential customers?

User Personas Benefits Introduction

What to include in Personas Template?

Personas can define a multitude of characters, based on further details like a specific product line, customer demographics, and more. Using an empathy map, for example, helps designers and sales specialists take a closer peek at their clients’ minds. These virtual characters help define what customers say, think, feel, and do in life, and especially what their view is about offered products and services.

Designers begin building the profile of that ideal client by gathering all possible user data. Important to note here is that accurate customer profiling does not necessarily mean borderline privacy breach. The base component for creating a good skeleton for a useful customer profile mostly consists of readily available data. Once designers round up all the relevant information, they can easily highlight general human behavior.

Although people differ vastly when directly compared, as customers, there are specific drives, motivations and conditions that allow marketers to funnel them into an easy to manage character categories, and use that to customize further the services they offer to them, and how they offer them. Personas are, after all, the answer to ‘Who? What? Why?’ of the ultimate user experience.

Depending on the project scope, profile data may all go in compiling a single virtual profile or become the base for multiple profiles, each addressing specific services, product categories, and so on. Most businesses use three to five different fictional customer profiles. While every Designer can personally shape up their persona profile, there are some general items worth including in the template.

User Personas Sample Profile

  1. Basic information
    Create character names and titles wisely and avoid using them arbitrarily. Giving a real Persona name like Maria suggests that users are female, which will undoubtedly contribute to making the wrong decision. Persona’s title allows us to quickly reference a group of users with similarities relevant to the product in question. Designers need to make sure their persona titles are specific. If a persona carries the title “Influencer,” this may lead to more issues and complications, rather than narrow down customers by a viable factor. Does this group of people consist of students, freelancers, or prospects? What are their passions and motivations? Do you have an insight into their shopping patterns?
  2. Demographics
    This socio-economic feature is the key to your target market and includes factors like age, sex, location, education, religion. Although all of these can play a detrimental role in target audience campaigns, deep down the road, no two people are exactly alike. Two women who have the same age and live in the same area don’t necessarily share the same interests, needs, or pain-points. Demographics data is meaningless without an intense cross-analysis.
  3. Job title, material status, family
    Developing a marketable product is about a process that sells or serves real people. People who hold various jobs, care for a family, or mingle within social circles. Customer details reveal a lot about their goals and problems, and what they are as a person. All information — even features from outside the definition of ‘customer’ — can be translated into meaningful persona profiles.
  4. Image
    As humans, we interact with each other daily. Every normal interaction are great sources for lead designers, who use them when they try to give their persona a face. Images add a real feel about the user exact identity. Customer profiling is not always a straight forward process - sometimes, finding the right image requires nothing short of hard detective work. When done right, a relistic persona profile allows for certain personality traits to emerge from the raw data. Customers’ emotional and mental capacities are true indicators for intention, and images are powerful influencers of mood and decision-making.
  5. Pain points
    Pain points are barriers that stand between your business intentions and how they reflect on the customer. When shaping the customer’s journey, the process does not come smooth automatically. There are often rough patches that need clearing. Unfortunately, clients may stumble on such ‘bumps on the road’ first-hand. For example, a page malfunction can cause visitors to collectively reach a dead while shopping or browsing. Additionally, pain points such as this one can be as diverse as the people who experience them. Finding, understanding, and solving these problems are the keys to successful design but are demanding in the variety of challenges. A few useful ways to diminish pain points are by constructing and executing online surveys. Make your sales team talkative with customers. interactive customer feedback like Online Reviews gives a piece of instantaneous information about potential problems.
  6. Goals
    Personas’ goals should be aligned with the goals and intentions behind marketing products and services. It is all about “What they want to accomplish? Why?” Discovering users’ emotions is a step that sits higher in the hierarchy of persona profile. Once you begin to see your clients from the perspective of a good friend, you get to witness the real value of your product, and why your services are their preferred choice.

User Personas Sample Styles

Why do Personas fail?

The profile of your ideal client is not going to be a perfect match with any of your existing customers. However, when people a product repeatedly, it becomes a second nature for the provider to expect, predict, and improve their business based on recurring customer behavior. When researching and building a persona, designers sometimes forget that this fictional profile must represent a real person. Customers are people with real lives and problems and are not easy to predict or put into a category. Shopping is only a single task on their busy schedule, and they probably don’t much obsess about your service. Human personality is a quirky matter and frequently defies straightforward answers or obvious answers derived from raw statistics.

Junior designers make one common mistake when creating a personal profile – they interview their friends and risk flooding their research data with the wrong set of information. Customer profiles benefit from accurate or unbiased information, which, in turn, helps designers believe in the problem they are trying to solve. When collecting data, it is much better to get more of it, than not enough. At the same time, wordy and irrelevant details are best excluded. They would only muddy-up the data and compromise its relevancy. Sifting through pieces of information has always been a tough challenge, even more so in Persona creation, because of the ever-present unpredictability of the human factor.

User Personas - Why do they fail?

Why do you need a Persona?

By knowing the goals and frustrations of your users, it’s easier to understand them. View them as a network of features that define an individual, rather than the purpose of everyone in the network. Design a product that will satisfy that individual’s needs, and you have yourself a winning strategy featuring a persona model.

Persona works standalone, but usually, it is essential to create different groups of virtual people. These fake characters help designers build robust user-oriented features. A persona-related design can help experts predict what the customer would do or want next or help prevent problems before they occur.

User Personas - Solving a problem

Successful Designer’s teams are the ones who can walk in the client’s shoes. They understand the problem from a more realistic perspective. What would your Persona think when you add a new feature to the app they use? What was the motivation behind the idea of this service or product? What issues and pain-points do they face? Smart design decisions featuring personas come as a result of getting the right answers to questions like these.

What problems does a Persona solve?

There are no disputes over whether a good UX comes easily. Designers need to understand the full spectrum of product cycle and value, business statistics, the tech used, and everything that has anything to do with the product. If you want to make successful products – get to know what your customer wants. Persona also represents a selective gathering of user’s behavior patterns, later used to match the expectations and motivations of customers.

User Personas - Practical application in MeTime

View the flow of the users’ day better, how and when they interact. Do not focus on “How does this work?”.  Creating a good UX is to design the best product for others and their goals. It helps teams make a smooth transition between requirements and design.

Thanks to the use of Personas, our team working on the MeTime project managed to solve a lot of problems with it. MeTime is an application built to connect end-users with Clinics and Doctors all over the world. People using the app undergo a whole journey aimed to match their specific needs with the best possible provider able to handle them.

After the combined effect from in-depth research sessions and interviews with doctors and potential users, we shaped the MeTime app to become an easy to use tool for everyone involved. Our Doctor Persona was made to reflect on what customers wanted most – fast and reliable response and evaluation of their medical problem or request, and the expertise and ability to analyze and carry out complex procedures. Our main Client Persona, on the other hand, held a completely different profile. To help us see the customer, we even defined multiple profiles. For example, although our Primary Persona was female, we used a male version too, to accommodate for a growing tendency.

We used personas in shaping the delicate provider-client relationship in MeTime. And we turned the otherwise lengthy process of medical evaluation into an easy and smooth journey, enjoyed by either side of the equation. MeTime persona profiles helped us reduce the complexity of medical language and make it more understandable to everyone.

The Conclusion

Would your business benefit from the use of a persona? If you feel like you are losing a grip on what your clients want, chances are you do. Personas are not strictly problem-oriented per se. They can also be used to bring improvements and provide advanced insights to various advertising campaigns and product promos.

Personas can be your best attempt to relate your brand to your customers and help you fine-tune to your target audience.

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Author

Mariya Videva | UI/UX Designer

Mariya is an experienced User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) expert, with a strong tendency toward improving Customer Experience (CX). After a successful brainstorming session, she implements the user experiences used by millions of users thereafter.
There is no problem big enough for her not to tackle a solution to sometimes sophisticated user flows.