User Personas

A persona is an imaginary portrayal of what you know about your customers. It is a single, made-up character that is used to represent a larger group of customers.

Personas help to synchronize diverse factors, including data, customer needs, and user experience, to make them easier to grasp for good decision-making. They improve the approach you take to solving the problem of customers.

Here are seven tips you can use to create excellent personas that help to understand your customers to deliver what they really need.

1. Understand your customers very well

You want to start the process of creating personas with a good understanding of the customer. Although we used the word “imaginary” to describe a persona, it is not so in the strictest sense. It is usually created using real data reflecting what you know about your customers.

You should aim to interface directly with your target users through user interviews. This enables you to get into their minds and find out more about their pain points.

Customer surveys are among the other options that can enable you to get a better understanding of customers. Apart from learning what they’d like to have, they offer a means of validating whatever observations you might have made about them already.

2. Decide a specific, major problem to solve

Products are meant to solve the problems that customers have. While trying to build one, there could be a lure to focus on many problems at the same time. You may see teams coming up with long lists of issues to solve.

A lengthy list of problems has the potential to reduce efficiency. It will be more beneficial to focus on just one issue that would press end-users the most to buy. You could as well have this goal at the top of your priority list if you must include others.

3. Buyer Personas

There are instances where the buyer is different from the user, and it is important to create different personas I that case, to represent the different motivations and attitudes of these two groups. This makes it possible to give special considerations to the interests of each, rather than focusing on just one.

4. Concentrate more on a single persona

While you might have multiple personas to represent distinct groups, you still want to have a focal one. This is the particular character that you think matters most for your product. It is possible that you might need some time before figuring this out as some tradeoffs could be involved.

Let’s assume that you are looking to build an industrial machine. The question would be whether to focus on the typical operator persona or the persona of the person/department making the purchase decision. The goals of your chosen character will determine the most essential requirements for what you are building.

5. Promote empathy

The personas you create should be convincing enough to arouse empathy in your development team when doing their work. They should seem real to a great degree and enable developers to have a better grasp of the customer and their needs.

When you create personas using what you know or learn from your customers, it becomes easier for developers to exhibit empathy in their work. Personas become more credible when you also include information such as name, picture, and demographics.

6. Bring personas into user stories

Personas become even more helpful when you combine them with user stories. They should be used as the main characters in these stories.

A user story describes a persona trying to do something or use a feature to achieve a goal. Put differently, good personas embody your users while user stories give details of what they do or want to do.

Take the example of a persona called Jane. We can have a user story that goes thus: “As Jane, I want to see a confirmation prompt when deleting a file so that I don’t delete important files.”

7. Modify your personas

Agile is synonymous with openness to change. Everything is done with the belief that certain changes down the line may necessitate changes to plans. In this light, you should be ready to fine-tune your personas as situations demand for that.

You may discover new things about your customers and their needs that make amendments necessary. Create prototypes, minimum viable products (MVPs), and product increments to validate new ideas. In some cases, it is better to create fresh personas that incorporate what you have just learned.

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