A persona is an invaluable tool used early in the concept phase of designing a website. Personas are archetypes of users whose beliefs and behavior patterns are catalogued, summarized and shared with project team members. Everyone on the team utilizes the persona set to determine whether their designs meet the personas’ needs.
Personas are effective for humanizing otherwise abstract demographics: each persona is given a name, and the summaries include a headshot and a narrative about the persona’s attitudes and experiences. Knowledge of their attitudes and experiences allows the design team to predict persona responses to design stimuli. By using personas, team members can focus on actual users rather than basing decisions on their own personal opinions.
Personas are not fictionalized characters made out of thin air, but are based on data from qualitative and quantitative research of your target audience.
Usability Sciences believes in a multiphase research approach to developing personas. After learning your objectives, Usability Sciences will create a customized research solution that incorporates the following research activities to ensure a high quality, cost-effective outcome.
- Site intercept survey: This data provides direct user experience metrics for every aspect of an existing site, along with direct user feedback about specific site content and functions. Our proprietary WebIQ data is rich in the attitudinal, behavioral and experiential insights that endow our personas with authenticity and bring them to life.
- Review existing customer provided research: Many of our clients are Fortune 500 companies, which typically have an abundance of existing primary research. The trick for these situations is to parse out which data is relevant to the task at hand. This data is useful for establishing base demographics, as well as market segments and their defining characteristics.
- Review existing secondary research: Secondary research, by which we mean any source of information not contained in the other research activities, can add industry or social context from perspectives far removed from a brand or organization’s internal take on the world, their markets and their customers.
- Channel-derived user experience data: Channel data can come in a variety of forms. Web analytics is an abundant source of behavioral data; call-center or customer service reports and transcriptions are also excellent sources of anecdotal data, as well as behavioral or attitudinal trends. Each touchpoint has data relevant to the persona creation process.
- Qualitative research: This can take the form of a field study, in-depth interviews (IDIs) or focus groups. Qualitative research is best undertaken after the primary quantitative research, survey data and other data sources are analyzed.
Personas are portraits of different types of users that help team members share a common vision of the target audience, which saves time in decision-making and avoids risky guesswork. Your team will have confidence in your website’s design, knowing that it was created by focusing on your target audience’s needs.
Personas will also help you answer the following questions:
- How would your target customers react to your website?
- Which critical problems would your customers face with your website?
- How can your website meet your customers’ needs?
Contact us today to better incorporate your target audience’s needs into your website.
Also, let our team of user experience professionals take you through persona development insights:
- Website Personas – A Practitioner’s Guide: Download this seven-part series that walks aspiring persona developers through the process of creating authentic, usable and predictive personas. Each part in the series provides detailed insights into execution, along with a variety of examples taken from actual projects and the training workshops they incorporate.