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What is a Persona?
Making it Personal. The bare facts and numbers are useful when it comes to creating reports and measuring financial success. However, when interacting with humans, it is vital to be able to relate to the individual on a personal level. A Persona is a fictitious character embodying a segment of real-world users of your product, website or service. It is based on information gathered via research, both qualitative and quantitative. A persona relays an individual’s driving influences and disappointments, defining the crux of who they are.
Why Create a Persona?
Empathy can change the world. Personas are based on real people, helping you better understand the thoughts, feelings and actions of those who will be using your service. Without a persona, the data you gather presents as cold, uncompelling facts with no real world effect. Embedding these facts in a persona allows you and other stakeholders to empathize with your users. Thus, supplying empathy and a deeper understanding, enabling you to better modify the design and functionality of your product or service to fit the needs of your users.
How to Create a Persona:
Personas can look and feel different based on who creates them. However there are certain things that they should all have in common: The persona should be compiled during the initial discovery phase of the project. It is important to keep it to a single page and to ensure that the information is presented in a way to quickly and clearly communicate the information. The steps involved in the creation of a persona are as follows:
- Gather the Data: Speak to your users, conduct surveys, review web analytics and take note of things you’ve personally observed.
- Segment the Information: There can only be one: Your persona should not represent only one person. Neither can it represent your entire user base. Divide your data into multiple personas using affinity diagramming or card-sorting. Place all of the ideas on a large surface such as a whiteboard, wall or table. Choose one to focus on.
- Define the Demographics: Who are they? Include basic information such as name, photo, age, marital status, job, income, residence and family members.
- Describe the Background: Write a short bio about your persona. Include history, preferences, habits, likes/dislikes, etc.
- List Their Goals: Why does the user hope to achieve with your product/service/site? Or even overall?
- Motivations and Pain points: Why are they using your product/service/site specifically? What frustrates them about your product/service/site?
- Additional Information: You can include a quote that summarizes their feelings about your product/service/site. You can also include other brands, services or sites that the user likes.
Persona Template (PowerPoint)
Empathy Map (PDF)