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How a user persona benefits the design process

In a previous insights post we discussed the concept of ‘user personas’ and how a site owner/administrator can fully utilise them in order to optimise their site.

We thought as a follow up to this we’d hand over to our UI/UX designer Sophie Stephens for an insight into the part user personas have to play when it comes to designing a website.

So first off, a reminder.

What is a user persona?

A user persona is usually a fictional character which represents your target audience. They are an extremely valuable tool in UX and they allow you to better understand the people who use your product, service or system. 
A user persona is more than just a collection of people of different ages based around your target market, they allow you to identify specific traits, characteristics and qualities about the person based on facts and data around ‘real’ users. This is obtained through user research and any behavioural data you have gathered around your product, service or system.

What does a user persona include?

Usually a user persona will include:

  • The perona’s full name 
  • Demographic information such as age, gender and nationality
  • Personality traits of the persona
  • A persona’s occupation
  • Information around their tech literacy, to establish what devices they may use, their knowledge of the internet, software or social media, and if they use apps (if any)
  • Background information and often a quote on a users goal
  • Specific challenges, frustrations and pain points in relation to your product or service
  • The persona’s influences and where they spend most of their time reading/learning information

a user persona template

Why are user personas beneficial to your business?

User personas can help your business discover the way people use your product. They boost marketing strategies and can help your business truly understand who you're marketing to, increasing leads or sales. 

Why is a user persona beneficial to our process?

Personas are a great UX tool for building empathy and keeping the user the focus of the design process, eliminating biases about users. 

To create a good user persona, our UX designers and marketing specialists will capture the most important information about a user. To do this they have to step into the user’s shoes, and dive deep into who they are, what their needs are and their goals. The creation process alone can help our team get a better understanding of your audience and their primary needs. 

When our designers create wireframes and prototypes of a business product/website they create them through the lens of the various user types - ensuring that it caters for all needs, and addresses all pain points, creating an effective and pain free user experience.

Putting the user at the heart of your website

It’s now clear that carefully crafted and accurate user personas are a vital resource in delivering/reviewing a wide range of website functionality. In truth this is because your users should always be the prism by which you look at your website through and only by understanding how they want to access your site will you ultimately be able to achieve the best possible experience.