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Persona Research: Advanced Tips For UX Designers

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persona research, persona

A persona is a frequently used tool in both UX and marketing. Many people talk about it but there are only a few who actually apply it in the right place and time. In the following article we explain the meaning of the persona, the areas of use and steps of creating a persona. Finally we detail the advantages of using personas in a project.

What is a persona?

A persona is a fictional character which represents your company’s target group. With the creation of a persona, our goal is to personify the potential customer base, thereby better understand their needs and motivations. A persona is actually a person's representation of a larger group based on the attitudes, behaviors, and demographics of the group members.

what is a persona?

Areas of use of the persona

It is important to clarify that not all types of persona creation types are suitable for the same task. Although there is a lot of overlap, marketing and UX professionals will find different parameters of interest when defining personas.

UX persona

For a UX designer, one of the primary goals should be to find common ground between potential customers and the brand as successfully as possible. We need to be able to develop empathy with the users we are designing for. That is why it is essential to discover the motivation of the users and to understand the real drivers of their behavior. The context is also important during observation: in what environment is the product being used? What are the so-called pain points that we can answer?

Keeping this in mind, the definition of the UX persona is structured the following way:

  • It starts from the E/1 point of view to eliminate possible distortions
  • It uses stories based on encouraging empathy
  • Uses gender neutral names
  • It is oriented towards the framework of the work to be done rather than the actual personification

Buyer persona (for marketing professionals)

The persona helps the marketing team to get to know their customer base more comprehensively, and thus they can create more targeted marketing messages. In contrast to UX specialists, marketers will also be interested in parameters such as purchasing power and personal attitudes of the persona (since these can affect the development of the relationship with the brand).

So information such as the persona's motivation, purpose, behavior patterns and (job) status remain important. However, the following is added to the list:

  • Demographic data
  • Residence
  • Personal background

The reason behind the expansion of the list is the need for more precise segmentation. In order to create the campaigns optimally - for example, to target the target audience that is really relevant to us - we also need to know the basic demographic data. On the other hand, this can be omitted for UX design.

The main difference between UX and buyer persona is that in the case of UX persona, demographic data is less important, as this is extra information that does not meaningfully advance the design.

Persona Creation Step by Step

  1. Research or start from existing data

In order to be able to create truly authentic personas, first data collection is necessary. There are two ways to do this: quantitative and qualitative research.

Let's start from the previously conducted user interviews, mark the most important information and compare them with the inputs provided by the customer.

If we do not have the resources to carry out deeper research, we can still rely on customer information, but we can also look at the platforms used by our competitors and identify the reactions and behavior patterns of the people interacting there.

  1. Identify patterns

After collecting information from several sources, data cleaning and pattern identification is the next step. Let's notice the matches and try to group them. At this point, we should also understand what lies behind the different reactions of people.

steps of creating a persona

  1. Create the persona

With the necessary basic information, the persona creation process is the next step. Each persona should include the following elements:

  1. Name

Give your persona a name. You can also use creative names that clearly help to identify the given persona. We avoid alliterative names, as it is difficult to identify with them, it seems frivolous..

  1. Picture

Upload a picture next to the names. Choose a photo that best describes your persona. For example, if you are defining a businessman, then you should choose a woman or man in elegant clothes typical of the industry.

  1. Description

In this section, summarize the personality traits, main goals, desires and background of the fictional persona. Also, describe the primary motivations for using the product or service.

  1. Problem

Every persona (person) has its own problems. Collect what difficulties the given persona faces, what problems they struggle with everyday. The more points you find, the better and more comprehensive work you will be able to come up with.

  1. Share the results with your colleagues

The work so far is worthless if you don't share its results with your team. Present the identified personas, so that everyone within the company will be in the picture. If you would like to discover new personas, then inform those concerned about this as well.

Advantages of using personas

From a business point of view, it is logical and beneficial to create personas and use them in practice. In the absence of these, a situation would arise as if we were to set off on a more dangerous mountain tour without a map, compass (and phone). Instead of our intuitions, we should also rely on research and data when we are faced with important decisions.

Let's take a look at the benefits of defining personas:

  • Understanding user motivations and needs
  • Revealing the shortcomings of products and services
  • Uniform approach within the company
  • Effective, focused business discussions
  • Work more efficiently
  • Easier, more effective decision-making - focused on user needs
  • Growing empathy towards users

Typical mistakes when defining the target group

During the creation of the persona, recurring mistakes can be discovered that you should definitely avoid. If you are aware of these at the beginning of the process, you have a better chance to have a successful project.

What are the most typical mistakes?

  • Persona creation without research

If you only rely on your own or your team's assumptions, you will most likely produce distorted results. Some of your personas may even hold their own, but the majority will be unrealistic and inaccurate. Willingly or unwillingly, you see the situation blindly, so it is implied that you don't even take important information into account, so some people won't even be on the list. That's why it's important to always start with research.

  • Too similar personas

Keep in mind the saying: less is sometimes more, it's not worth breaking it up. Your personas should be clearly distinguishable, there should be no overlaps. Unique and well-defined personas will help in design decisions and planning.

  • Use of redundant data

We tend to use as much data as possible in the belief that we create additional value by doing so. Let's throw out unnecessary information and rely only on the most important ones. We should only use data that really moves us forward in the project.

Conclusion: the most important things about persona creation

We hope that by now it is clear to you why the use of personas is beneficial. By following the necessary steps, you can start the next persona creation project yourself, from which even the entire company can benefit (but the designer team for sure).

However, if you feel that a little extra professional help would be useful, then follow us and view our events and deepen your knowledge.