Research & understanding

Personas

Colton Schweitzer
October 14, 2020

Personas are fictional representations of your target users created by grouping the user data gathered through research. 

Source: blog.adobe.com

Personas are composed of a name, general details, goals, beliefs, pain points, etc. and are usually displayed on a single page. They help to keep the user at the center of the design process because they’re a great reminder of your user’s attitudes, desires, and goals.

Personas also help you build empathy for the user. By using personas, designers can look at the problem from the perspective of the user helping them to create a product that that user actually needs. If, during the UX process, you get stuck, you can always look back and ask what your personas would need in the situation.

The composition of a persona depends on how detailed you need it to be. 

Most of the time, personas include 8 things:

The persona’s name

The persona's age. 

A photo of the persona. A great resource to find royalty-free pictures is Unsplash.com. 

The goals they’re trying to accomplish. 

Their beliefs related to the problem.

The pain points and problems they’re currently facing. 

The technology and devices they use.

A quote regarding how they feel about this problem or what they want from a solution.

If it’s relevant to the product you’re working on, you can also include more specific information like the persona's bio, occupation, marital status, personality traits, etc. 

Personas are a controversial topic in the UX world. 

Many believe that personas are a fantastic design tool. Others… not so much. Just understand that they aren’t a tool that’s universally used.

Personas can be great for smaller companies where the market is very niche and you can point to 1-2 personas who use your product. 

However, for larger companies, personas can go out the window because there are too many types of people who use the product, making it almost impossible to categorize them. Take Apple for example, when they were first starting out, they had specific personas who bought their products. Over time, their user base has gotten so large it no longer makes sense to define personas because there would be dozens of them, which defeats the purpose. Instead, they define user goals and jobs to be done and solve UX problems with those in mind. 

Another issue is that there’s a lot of made-up information in personas (like the name and the background of a persona). 

This can make personas seem even more fictitious and not real, making it really easy to neglect them and not use them because they don’t seem to represent your actual users.

Create a persona to:

Keep users at the center of your process.

Build empathy for users.  

Help you understand users’ attitudes, behaviors, desires, goals, etc.

Back to vault

116

Back to vault

116

What is UX?

2
Getting started

Why is UX important?

3
Getting started

What is the UX process?

4
Getting started

What is design thinking?

5
Getting started

What do UX designers do?

6
Getting started

UX vs UI

7
Getting started

Do UX designers need to know how to code?

8
Getting started

Recommended UX books

9
Getting started

UX university programs: Pros & cons

12
Getting started

UX bootcamps: Pros & cons

13
Getting started

6 brutal truths aspiring UX designers don't want to hear

14
Getting started

Difference Between Graphic Designer vs UX Designer vs UI Designer

15
Getting started

Intro to research & understanding

101
Research & understanding

Finding a problem to solve

102
Research & understanding

SWOT analysis

103
Research & understanding

Competitive analysis

104
Research & understanding

Heuristic evaluation (usability evaluation)

105
Research & understanding

Task analysis

106
Research & understanding

Stakeholder interview

107
Research & understanding

Framing the problem

108
Research & understanding

Research plan

109
Research & understanding

Survey

110
Research & understanding

User interview

111
Research & understanding

Card sorting

112
Research & understanding

Customer journey map

113
Research & understanding

Empathy map

114
Research & understanding

Affinity diagram

115
Research & understanding

Personas

116
Research & understanding

Contextual inquiry

117
Research & understanding

Diary study

120
Research & understanding

Eye tracking

121
Research & understanding

Intro to IA

201
IA & wireframing

Layout + CRAP

203
IA & wireframing

Site map

204
IA & wireframing

Scenarios

205
IA & wireframing

Storyboards

206
IA & wireframing

Low vs high-fidelity

207
IA & wireframing

Sketching

208
IA & wireframing

Wireframes

209
IA & wireframing

User flows

210
IA & wireframing

Intro to usability testing

301
Prototyping & usability testing

Usability testing plan

302
Prototyping & usability testing

Prototypes

304
Prototyping & usability testing

Research report

305
Prototyping & usability testing

Typography basics

401
Visual design & handoff

Color basics

402
Visual design & handoff

Color accessibility

403
Visual design & handoff

Pixels vs points

404
Visual design & handoff

Layout + 8pt grid system

405
Visual design & handoff

Design system

406
Visual design & handoff

UX writing

408
Visual design & handoff

"Final" usability test

409
Visual design & handoff

UX portfolio basics

501
UX portfolio

Your portfolio is just another UX project

502
UX portfolio

Choosing a site builder for your UX portfolio

503
UX portfolio

UX portfolio inspiration

504
UX portfolio

5 tips for junior UXers asking for portfolio feedback

505
UX portfolio