As UX Designers our goal is to design for humans. Our main purpose is to understand who we are designing for. One of the most important parts of the process for user experience design is the empathic approach we create from the research we do about the possible users and what is the real need we need to approach.
User personas is one of the tools we have to create empathy. Personas are archetypical users: fictional yet realistic. Although it is a created person, it represents the needs of a larger group of users. Every part of this masterpiece is based on real data and facts obtained through research, observational studies, interviews, surveys, ethnographic research and experience themselves from the user research.
The user persona document usually is presented in a one or two-page description that in general include:
Image: photo or avatar of the persona physically
Quotes: to understand their beliefs, perspective of things/life
Age/location: needed to understand their environment
Behavioral patterns: hobbies, habits, shops, activities
Skills: we can have an idea of places they visit, what they like doing
Attitudes: helps us with the cultural and religion information
Why is it part of a UX design process?
When building from design research, we need a lot of data; this documentation is only useful if it is used. Our target audience will always need to be understood, at the end, we are not designing for a nice portfolio; We are designing products and services that will be used by real people. For that, doing this user persona is key to add value to the result.
Here is an example of a Persona document from Bellerose XD, where it shows psychographic, behavioural, and philosophical data from the user to deeply understand what she needed.
In this persona, called “Pamela Ruiz” we did a research with primary data, surveys and intetviews to understand her beliefs, motivations and habits. This user has a “little bit” of information from each source and after a brainstorm we can easily identify which information needs to be highlighted.
We used some photos from the internet to exemplify the statements we are presenting. In this way we can approach to another important tool used for the design process called “Scenarios” but we did not use that tool for this project.
With this outcome we can jump to more assertive results, and it will ease our way to the next steps of the user research and design process.
So, is it useful?
Definitely! Adding that, complimented with scenarios, they guide you with a clear view on how the user will be interacting with your product. They also need to be updated and renewed constantly. The discovery and testing part is always a big process when designing. After iteration and experience when prototyping phase comes, there will come new information and new findings that need to be updated. But after all, the gathering and interpretation of all the data will be meaningful and determining.
It is necessary to conduct the right workshop with stakeholders to gather the right information and to make sure we are clearly understanding the user. All details are taken and written down to build a strong document. If you need help to build your persona, do not hesitate in contacting us. We are here to help you!