Persona’s have been in place for decades, and are not only used in the user experience design field. A persona is synthesized individual that represents a significant amount of people.
More specifically, a user experience design agency would use a persona in order to focus on the target market that they are designing for. Each persona in UX should represent a user type of the application or web platform and should represent the needs that a larger group of people have. Below is what an example of a persona looks like (created by Chicago UX design company, Codal).
Most personas will have an image, description of who they are, and most importantly, their frustrations, goals, values, and preferred solutions. Personas are something that is included in most UX design services, and will be conducted by the UX UI research team.
So, where does it belong in the UX process?
Personas are typically created in the very beginning of the user experience design phase, but should be referenced throughout the entire process, even into the mobile app design and development phase.
Finding Focus on the User
When designing a website or mobile application, it can be very easily to get lost in the rut of different, unique concepts. You cannot design something just because you like it as a designer. The platform is likely not being designed for you. Personas will keep you focused on the types of people that you’re designing for.
For an example, an older generation may not understand how to use the gestures on SnapChat, yet every millennial does. When SnapChat was being designed, the target persona was most likely a millennial and not a mother of 5 kids.
Design End Goals
A persona is a very goal-driven tool. The purpose of it is almost to ensure that all of the user goals have been met. Therefore, use your personas to reference check that every goal that was determined in the beginning of the project has been met.
It is important for these personas to stay present through the software development cycle, and that your design transfers into the functionality that you were hoping for. If it doesn’t, what was the point of the UX research services that you utilized?
Defend your Decisions
If you’re a designer, I’m sure you have been asked “why does this look like this, why is the button here, why is the navigation menu like this?” Well, personas are a great way to back up the decisions that you make as a designer. You designed it a certain way because that is how “persona X” would expect it to be.
Personas are an extremely effective tool for every stage in the user experience and interface design process. Ensuring that your design is user-centered should be one of your main priorities as a UX designer. Interested in learning more about user-centered design? Contact Codal!