Why are user personas important?
User personas are a special type of report that summarizes the key findings of users.
By being able to view UX research findings in aggregate, you can better understand your users’ needs, behaviors, and pain points.
This, in turn, allows you to identify areas of opportunities and build a platform that truly meets your users’ needs and expectations.
Furthermore, user personas also serve as a visual guide that keeps stakeholders, design teams, and developers aligned throughout the entire project.
Learn more about user personas in the following sections.
What is a user persona?
A user persona, also known as a web persona, is a summary of your existing or potential users.
In practice, user personas are a representation of your target audience, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of your users’ pain points, behaviors, needs, and desires.
While a user persona isn’t a profile of a real person, it is composed of real information and data collected from a large group of people in order to identify what they would want or potentially want as a group.
A web persona typically includes characteristics of your users, such as:
Their goals and aspirations
A description of who they are
Their likes and dislikes
Their needs and wants
Their background and location
Their age and gender
Their daily routines
And even their relationship status at times
User personas are essential in the development of any high-quality digital product that aims to effectively target the correct group of users. Below, we explain why user personas are a crucial component of your digital product’s creation process.
Are user persona templates helpful?
User personas vary depending on the nature of the digital product you are trying to build, the technological context of the product, and the specific characteristics of your target users.
For instance, users’ relationship statuses might be highly relevant for e-commerce platforms that sell couples’ clothes and less relevant for cryptocurrency platforms.
This is why following a templated web persona guideline will likely lead to inaccurate, irrelevant, and untargeted personas.
Instead, we recommend following a systematic creative process and evaluate which user characteristics are relevant to your web persona on a case-by-case basis.
How do user personas benefit your business?
From shaping your digital product strategy to reducing development costs, user personas can benefit your business in various ways.
Here are the four ways user personas can benefit your business:
1. User personas help shape digital product strategy
A great product strategy is essential for ensuring the effective development of a highly-functional digital product. Web personas help shape this strategy as they allow teams to focus on what matters the most – the users.
A product strategy includes having a product definition and a requirement. By having a deep understanding of who your users are, and what their goals and initiatives are, you can easily define what these requirements should be.
This includes knowing what features your digital product should have, its user flow, and the UI design elements needed on various pages.
Overall, user personas can help various teams with your product strategy:
Design team: User personas can help designers identify the aesthetic or layout your target audience is looking for. This might include the amount of text put on a certain page or even which font size is preferred.
Marketing team: User personas can marketing efforts more impactful by giving marketers a clear idea of your target audience’s needs and motivations.
Content team: User personas can help content creators understand the personality of your users or target audience so they can create effective content with an appealing message and style.
Although often overlooked, user personas are essential for creating user story maps, and ignoring them creates undeniable consequences for your business. Users are at the core of any UX/UI design, and a deep understanding of these users offers a clear path toward an end goal for any business.
2. User personas prevent time-consuming changes
By gaining a deep understanding of your users, you have an easier time understanding how your product should perform and how it should be created.
This user-centric point of view enables you to prioritize features your users actually want and discard unnecessary tasks to save both time and money.
Apart from aiding your teams in terms of prioritization, user personas also cut down on time that was previously used for discussions and arguments around design decisions, as you can base your decisions on real collected data represented in web personas.
3. User personas help align teams on product vision
Although different teams are responsible for creating different aspects of your digital product, they are all working toward the same goal for the same target users.
Therefore, it is important to have a clear idea of who your target users really are so that every team is aligned on the direction of the product.
4. User personas add value to products
User personas increase product value by directly allowing you to build products that directly solve user pain points.
They do this by focusing the design team on who the product is for. When designing anything, whether it is a digital product or a color scheme, it is very easy to start creating something you yourself would personally desire – instead of focusing on the actual users.
Our approach to creating user personas
Organizing the collected data to create user personas can quickly become difficult and confusing, especially when there is an abundance of data sources to draw from.
At Morphosis digital consultancy, our team of UX professionals has created an approach to generating effective user personas for all our clients, involving both quantitative and qualitative research.
This first type of UX research includes:
Our first approach to creating web personas is to use a quantitative approach. Quantitative research is done with a large sample size of users and is focused on looking at overall themes such as user demographics and online interactions.
This type of data can be collected via tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, Google Trends, and more.
This second type of UX research includes:
Our next approach is to conduct qualitative research with a small sample of users. This includes interviews, surveys, usability testing, and site traffic analysis to start.
By conducting qualitative UX research, we are able to shed light on the motivations and desires behind the overall themes uncovered during the quantitative research process.
This allows us to develop a narrative of user behavior and create detailed customer journey maps, enabling our team to understand our target users at an even deeper level.
Our user persona creation process
As mentioned above, we recommend following a step-by-step process for creating personas.
With a well-thought-out process, we can produce quality user personas on a consistent basis, regardless of the type of project we are working on.
Here, we outline the five main steps our teams follow when creating user personas for our clients:
1. Conducting stakeholder interviews
A good stakeholder interview extracts as much valuable information as possible from the stakeholders, and to do this, we need to carefully craft highly targeted interview questions.
After conducting stakeholder interviews, we are able to form a rough draft of user personas. These initial drafts include vague details about target users that can be elaborated on later in the process.
Stakeholder interviews also allow us to gauge how many user personas we need to create based on how many user groups the stakeholders are aiming to target.
Most importantly, stakeholder interviews open up room for discussion. They allow us to learn the assumptions the stakeholders have about their users so we can validate their assumptions in the two following steps.
2. Conducting user interviews
Next, we conduct user interviews to validate the assumptions of our stakeholders. The data collection process involves both quantitative and qualitative research approaches.
In shorter time frames, we place more emphasis on quantitative research, allowing us to quickly uncover overall themes about our target users.
In longer time frames, we start by conducting qualitative research practices such as user interviews. This gives us the opportunity to shed light on the nuances behind our users’ motivations and desires, enabling us to create more detailed and accurate user personas at the end of the process.
3. Analyzing data to identify patterns
The goal during this part of the process is to investigate all the data collected and identify patterns that are relevant to creating user personas.
These patterns might include things like user demographics, purchasing behavior, pain points, motivations, and so on.
By analyzing and organizing data, we are able to create user personas that represent real users who will interact with the digital product we are aiming to build.
4. Summarizing key findings
After collecting the relevant data, analyzing them, and categorizing similarities into groups of people, we can finally start creating the user personas.
5. Presenting to stakeholders for approval
Once we complete the first four steps, it is now time to share the results with the team for a collaborative discussion session. This paves the way for valuable feedback, which ultimately helps refine the personas to ensure that all team members understand the type of users we are catering the digital product to.
Meet our UX/UI design team
At Morphosis, we believe research and strategy planning is crucial in developing any digital product. We are a team of experienced UX/UI professionals who have worked on a multitude of scalable digital products for some of the biggest brands in Asia.
Our team understands the impact of visual design and the importance of user experience. For this reason, we provide the most intuitive, user-friendly, and flexible solutions to our clients.
Our proven service model includes: