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Nichakorn Nutcharoen
is a UX researcher at Morphosis. She is responsible for gathering and analyzing data on the target users to better guide product design process.

What are Personas? Are They Real People?

Published on 22 Aug 2022 in

The biggest reason why many businesses are unsuccessful is that they don’t understand user personas

Knowing who your primary users are, their characteristics, and so on, is important to keep in mind when you are trying to build an impactful product or service. Because even when businesses do create user personas, they often still fail, leaving them to ask: I made a user persona, so why isn’t my business succeeding?

If you want to understand what a user persona really is, this article contains the key to unlocking an in-depth understanding of the subject. We’ll show you what user personas are, why they are important, where they came from, and even some common misconceptions about them.

What is a user persona?

The first thing we want you to achieve is being able to group personas based on certain relevant key factors that directly influence the success of your future products and services. These factors include:

  • Goals: What are your customers’ goals in regards to your products and services?

  • Behaviors: What behaviors do your customers regularly do in relation to your products and services?

  • Pain points: What problems do your customers have while using products or services? How can you help customers solve these problems?

The best starting point for creating accurate personas isn't just grouping people with similar profiles, such as by gender, age, education, and financial status. Instead, to get to know your target customers, it is important to understand these three factors; understand their goals, behaviors, and pain points they are currently facing. 

This will allow you to create a persona that is the truest representation of the product. And it also increases the chances that your product succeeds according to the business goals set for it.


Five reasons why user personas are important for businesses

To answer the question of why user personas are important for businesses, let's divide the answer into five parts to make it easier to understand. Here they are:

1. User personas help you create the right product development strategy

User personas help you define the right product development strategy in order to create the best product or service that contributes the right value proposition to serve your users’ needs. Moreover, knowing your customers' needs in turn helps you reduce the time you otherwise would have wasted on long meetings about what features to include in the product or service.

2. User personas help you reflect on whether your business is on track

User personas also act as a mirror. They help you reflect on whether your business is going in the right direction with the goals you have set. It also helps confirm whether or not the design and development of your product or service are serving your product development objectives and that you are meeting your customers’ needs and expectations.

3. User personas help make it easier to create product roadmaps

Planning your product’s direction of your product or service, including what direction to take the design, content, etc. is also more accurate when you create good user personas. They let you know right from the start what aspect of your product you should be developing now and in the future. And they also increase your chances of success.

4. User personas help boost user engagements and your ROI

Personas help increase your business’s user engagement because a product or service developed using the right information provided by user personas can create a user-friendly impression on the target audience. 

A good user experience leads to a good brand reputation that will naturally help you expand your customer base and increase your return on investment (ROI).

5. User personas are a medium that helps align you and your team in the same direction

Like a bridge, user personas act as an intermediary between you and your customers, as well as between designers and developers, since personas contain information about the needs and problems that customers encounter. They also clearly state the goal of product development from the start so that when misunderstandings arise, everyone can revisit the personas.

“Having a clear persona shows that a business product has a clear market position.”

Nichakorn Nutcharoen, UX researcher


Where do personas come from? Can I create it myself?

You’ve probably read articles about personas, most of which explain that personas can be created by using research data, by making assumptions based on the original customer base, or according to new target groups that will be used for product development. But actually knowing how to create a user persona doesn’t always arise from the thought process like in the example above. 

That's because user personas are created by answering the following questions and taking the following steps:

1. What product or service are you creating?

Knowing whether you're going to make a banking application, a merchandising platform, or whatever you want to make, greatly affects the user persona.

2. Is your product or service already on the market?

Looking at existing products can help you know what you should look for in terms of information. It will also determine whether you find information from a similar product on the market or you have to start your research from scratch.

3. Who are your target users?

Find out who your customer segment is. What kind of lifestyle do they have? This will help set the direction of your product development.

4. Conducting user research

Conduct UX research to find representative samples of personas that match the product. Usability testing, user interviews, contextual inquiries, focus groups, and gorilla testing are required to collect data and observe actual behavior.

5. Analyzing data from users

Analyze data from the behavior of real users, such as what they like about certain aspects of the product or problems that they may have encountered. For example, knowing what problems they may have found with a user onboarding page will help users understand the app usage easier or where the button users are facing will bring them to. 

6. Creating a user persona

Create a profile of the sample by using the data obtained from the analysis to create a persona to implement in the development of products and services.


“Often product development problems are caused by not creating a user persona right, which actually has to start before product development.”

Natnicha Jumnongjit, UX researcher

The most common misconceptions and mistakes about user personas

Only looking at demographics: Creating a good user persona based on only demographics such as gender, age, education, status, income, as well as the products and services that your target audience use, is not enough. You must also take into account user goals, behaviors and pain points, which can only come from real user data. This will help you create a persona that best matches the product or services you are developing.

Creating personas based on self assumptions: Most people have a tendency to create personas based on their own fictitious assumptions without conducting any prior research at all. These assumptions are often just self-conceptions and not based in actual reality.

Choosing not to conduct research: Another common mistake or misconception around about user personas is that you don’t need to do any research or validation to create one. The truth is that you must undergo both of these to help you achieve your business goals.

“Most people misunderstand personas as just a fictitious profile, without the need for research and validation.”

Kun Wattanayothin, UX research Manager


The right personas will lead your business to a successful future

At this point, you probably understand what a user persona actually is. All the content we’ve described is based on the hands-on experience of UX researchers, who actively search, research, and do everything possible to provide real users with the best possible experience. This has provided us here at Morphosis with the knowledge and expertise to create personas that accurately represent our clients’ unique audiences.

Our user experience experts are ready to help you get the results you need to rapidly grow your business. And here is how the personas we create do that:

  1. Your products and services will meet the needs of users by providing the best user experience, which will ultimately help your business reach the goals you set.

  2. You will reduce product development time and excessive spending with the right personas since you will be able to effectively determine your future development plans.

  3. Your conversion rates for your product or services will increase immediately after marketing because having the right persona helps keep customers happy, active, and engaged.

Do you need help creating good user personas so you can develop a successful digital product? Our UX research experts here at Morphosis are ready to create impactful personas, and our colleagues can also provide related services in UX/UI design, product development, digital marketing, and more. 
Get your free consultation today by visiting our contact page.

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