no, I know what you are thinking, it is not that persona. although we are still going to create an imaginary character to serve our purpose.
This article is written as a part of individual review criterion of PPL CS UI 2021
What is a persona?
A user persona is a person that is made from specific information that caters to represents a type of demographic. The demographic in question can be any variety depending on the needs of the developer. A user persona is mainly used to help us make certain decisions in our development process. Even after development, a user persona can still help us in identifying future problems and potential.
User Persona for development
A User Persona can help development in various ways. One of the most obvious ways it can help with development is to show the needs and wants of future clients.
With a User Persona, a developer can cater to the needs of future clients accordingly, adding and removing features as needed effectively without having to go through a process of trial and error. Aside from that, it can also identify who the application is for. User personas can help developers identify their target audience. This can be achieved by observing their current, past, and future behavior. With the information from their behavior developers can properly develop the features to attract as many customers as possible.
Personas could also be the foundation of new ideas for your application, by knowing your user base, you could try and maximize their experience by building the application based on their needs.
Creating a User Persona
Now that the definition of a User Persona is out of the way let’s jump into how to create a user persona.
To create a proper User Persona there are a few important things to note. Who the person is, their behaviors, and lastly their needs and problems.
After creating a User Persona a developer must be able to get the answer to these three questions.
- Who is their target audience in general
- What they need the application for
- How they are likely to behave in using the application
These questions provide a wide scope of information and are examples of the answers you can obtain from a User Persona.
so where do you get the information needed to answer these questions?
There are several ways to solve this problem, one of the simplest ways is to conduct interviews. However, this method is time-consuming and the answer might be biased and inconsistent. There are a few more ways to gather that are more effective such as social media polls, random surveys, and many other methods. They all work but sadly they have one weakness, they all require actual people, and with data gathered from people, they tend to be inconsistent and time-consuming to process.
A good way to get around this is to implement Assumptive User Personas. Assumptive Personas are educated guesses on the target audience. No different than an actual User Persona, the Assumptive Personas also require the 3 questions to be answered. This makes for faster production of User Personas and makes it so that the information is more controlled and has fewer outliers making it easier to process.
So, what should we do?
Well, Firstly Define your persona
The target audience should have a segmented profile on who they are, what they do, and general information about their life.
The general information that a user persona should have could be
- Their job
- Where they live
Next, we should “personalize” our persona
After defining the general information about our persona, next, we should personalize them by giving them their own personal characteristics. This could range from their personality, ideas, goals, and motivation to political views, religion, and beliefs.
but the main reason this step is done is to give them an identity, and predict what they would try to do if they pay a visit to your application.
Lastly, we define the connection
if you don't know their problem then how could you possibly know how to fix it?
after defining our persona, personalizing it to meet our user base, then we should try to define the problems they have so that we could later try to solve those problems in our applications.
now you have a full working persona your development team could refer to when building their application.
An example of a User Persona that I built for a team project at university:
A good user persona helps you get a full idea of who your target market is, and how your should design, product, and services can help them.
and by discerning that definition, we could say that the Persona that is provided above well encompasses the definition of a good persona, it helps us define what we need to do and what we should do to our application so that it behaves exactly as needed by our customers.
Based on that user persona, we could design the application and cater it based on the personas goals and frustration in mind.
by analyzing their pain points, and goals. we could see that the user wants to search for documents in a seemingly effortless manner, and do so in a fast and robust way. so we design the application to make it easy for anyone to search the documents that they need and also filter them based on their relevance.
we came up with such a solution because we conclude that it is what the users needs the most.
By keeping the persona’s goals, motivation, and frustrations in mind, we could design the application to satisfy those needs and try to solve their problem. although in the end, while it is just a presumptive measure, it still narrows down the development to a more specific and concrete development process.
User Personas are important tools to help software developers finish their products. It helps them get an insight into who their application is for and the services they need to provide for their customers.
Soo… If you’ve never used a User Persona before in your development process, I recommend trying it next time since it will help you get a better insight into the application that you are building.
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