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Personas: Identifying the goals and needs of your target group.

Personas

Personas are archetypal users that represent the goals and needs of your target group. They enable you to make well-founded decisions from the very beginning of the development process of user-friendly products.

Personas

Our approach to Personas

When developing or improving user-friendly products it is a great challenge to understand and keep in mind the motivations and needs of the users. Market research data is often difficult to grasp, and the human aspect quickly disappears behind the numbers.

This is where Personas come in. Personas are fictional users from the target group of your product. Just like real users, personas have needs, skills, and goals. They do not represent the average — they are specific persons who reveal patterns in user behavior.

Depending on the target group, 4 to 6 personas should be developed. From the adventurous pensioner to the well-organized mother — every persona has characteristic needs and represents one user type from your target group.

We create personas for you based on contextual inquiries, usability testing, online surveys, and web analytics, as well as already existing knowledge that you have about your users. A large basis of qualitative and quantitative data guarantees well-founded and reliable results. The undefined mass of your users is made tangible by personas. They enable all members of the project to set the focus of the development process on the needs of the users.


Why are Personas helpful?

Personas visualize typical representatives of your target group. Diverse information about their life makes them relatable as a person and enables all project members to identify with them.

A persona contains demographic data and insights into their family relations. Pictures and quotes give them a face and a voice. Further information that is relevant in the context of the product can be added to show the persona’s requirements.

  • Hobbies and leisure: What is the target group interested in?
  • Online world: Where do the users go on the web?
  • Technical equipment: Which devices are used? Are the users novices or experts in the use of smartphone & co.?
  • Goals: What are the users’ goals? What does the product need to offer them?
  • Approach: How do the users go about reaching their goals? How can the product support them in this process in an ideal way?

A special case: Proto-Personas

Proto-personas (or ad-hoc personas) are reduced, simple personas that are created based exclusively on assumptions and existing knowledge about the target group. They contain less background information and details, and focus on the goals and needs of the users. Especially at the beginning of the development process or when introducing user-centered design methods, proto-personas can help getting some clarity about the target group — quick and at a low price. They convey a consistent understanding of the target group and help prioritize development objectives.

However, proto-personas cannot replace data-based personas. Since proto-personas are not based on user research but merely on assumptions, they should not serve as a basis for strategic decisions. In order to work with proto-personas in the long term they should be verified by user research and developed into data-based personas.

Proto-Personas

When do we recommend Personas?

Creating personas is particularly helpful at the beginning of a project, e.g. when a new product is developed, or a relaunch is planned. Personas convey a consistent understanding of the target group to all project members and serve as the basis for decision making in the development process.

Personas are also suitable for the continuous monitoring and development of existing products. When introducing the user-centered design process personas are equally helpful. At every stage, they help to make well-founded decisions in the users’ interest.

  • Include the user in every phase

    Personas can be developed even before the first draft of a product or functionality. They also help to keep the focus on the user during maintenance and further development.

  • Help with design decisions

    When different ideas for new functionalities are up for debate, personas help prioritize them. What is best for Margaret and Stephen?

  • Give the users a face

    Personas are persons. With the help of pictures and information about their personal life, they are relatable and put the human being in the focus.


What are the results?

You get elaborated personas containing extensive information about their living environment. The contents are 100% derived from the research and describe users who belong to your target group.

In the form of a poster or as a data file, the personas are ready to be used for further development work. Instead of speaking generally and subjectively about the requirements of “our users”, the personas can be actively involved in project meetings: “This functionality would definitely be helpful for Birgit”. Personas ensure that all project members have the same target group in mind and can relate to their users.

Do you have specific questions concerning your project? We are happy to advise you. Free of charge and without obligation.

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