Why are user personas important?
User personas are a special type of report that summarises the key findings about our users.
By being able to view our UX research findings in aggregate, we are able to better understand our users’ needs, behaviours and pain points.
This, in turns, allows us to identify areas of opportunities and build a platform that truly meets our users’ needs and expectations.
Furthermore, web 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?
- How do user personas benefit your business?
- Our approach to creating user personas
- Our user persona creation process
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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, behaviours, 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 will typically include 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
- What their daily routines are
- Their behaviours
- And even their relationship status at times
User personas are essential in the development or 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 will vary greatly, depending on the nature of the digital product we are trying to build, the technological context of the product and the specific characteristics of the target users.
For instance, the users’ relationship status may be highly relevant for Ecommerce platforms that sell couple’s clothings 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 creation process and evaluate which user characteristics are relevant for your web persona on a case-by-case basis.
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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:
1Shape your 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 your teams focus on what matters the most – the users.
A product strategy includes having a product definition and requirement. By having a deep understanding of who your users are, as well as 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, the user flow and the UI design elements throughout different pages.
Overall, user personas can help shape your product strategy from a variety of perspectives:
- Design Team: Easily identify what aesthetic or layout your target audience are looking for, this could include the amount of text put on a certain page or even what font size is more kindly received.
- Marketing Team: Marketing efforts can be more impactful because you have a clearer idea of your target audience’s needs and motivations based on the user personas.
- Content Team: Knowing the overall personality of your users or target audience can help your content team cater marketing messages, writing styles and vocabulary to better appeal to them.
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 towards an end goal for any business.
2Avoid time-consuming changes
By gaining a deep understanding of your users, it becomes easier to understand how your product should perform and how it should be created.
This user-centric point of view enables you to prioritise necessary features your users actually want and discard all unnecessary tasks to save both time and money.
Apart from aiding your teams in terms of prioritisation, user personas will 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 the web personas.
3Align teams on product vision
Although different teams are responsible for creating different aspects of your digital product, they are all working towards the same goal for the same target users.
Therefore, it is important to have a clear idea of who the target users really are so that all teams can be aligned on the overall direction of the product.
4Increase product value
User personas increase product value by directly allowing us to build products that directly solve user pain points.
It does this by maintaining our design team’s focus on who the product is for. When designing anything, whether it is a digital product or a colour scheme, as it is very easy to start creating something you yourself would personally desire – instead of focusing on the actual user.
Our approach to creating user personas
Organising 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 have created an approach to generate effective user personas for all our clients, involving both quantitative and qualitative research.
This first type of UX research includes:
- Yes/No Surveys
- Data analytics
- Statistical analysis
Our first approach to creating web personas is to use a quantitative approach. Quantitative research is done with a larger sample size of users and is focused on looking at overall themes such as user demographics and their 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:
- Open-ended questionnaires
- User interviews
- Usability testing
Our next approach is to conduct qualitative research with a small sample size of users. This includes interviews, surveys, usability testing and site traffic analysis as a 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 behaviour 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 will be able to produce quality user personas on a consistent basis, regardless of what type of project we are working on.
Here, we outline the five main steps our teams follow when creating user personas for our clients:
1Conduct 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 will be able to form a rough draft of the user personas. These initial drafts will include vague details about the 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 find out what assumptions the stakeholders have about their users so that we can validate these assumptions in the two following steps.
Next, we start conducting user interviews to validate the assumptions of our stakeholders. The data collection process will involve both quantitative and qualitative research approaches.
In shorter time frames, more emphasis will be placed on quantitative research, allowing us to quickly uncover overall themes about our target users.
In longer time frames, we will start conducting qualitative research practices such as user interviews. This will give us the opportunity to shed light on the nuances behind our users’ motivations and desires, enabling us to create a more detailed and accurate user persona at the end of the process.
3Analyse 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 in creating user personas.
These patterns could include things like user demographics, purchasing behaviour, pain points, motivations, and so on.
By analysing and organising data, we are able to create user personas that represent real users who will interact with the digital product we are aiming to build.
4Summarise key findings
After collecting the relevant data, analysing them and categorising similarities into groups of people, we can finally start creating the user personas.
5Presentation to stakeholders and approval
Once the first four steps have been completed, it is now time to share your results with the team for a collaborative discussion session. This will pave a way for valuable and constructive feedback, which will ultimately refine these personas to ensure that all team members understand the type of users we are catering the digital product for.
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 professions 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 how important user experience can be. For this reason, we make sure that we are providing the most intuitive, user-friendly and flexible solutions to all our clients.
Our practiced and proven service model includes:
- User Experience Research
- Growth Strategy
- UX Design
- Digital Product Development
- Digital Transformation Consulting
- And more
Visit our main services page to learn more about how we can help you grow your business today.