User Personas Guide
What it is
Personas are representations of key audience segments that provide a clear picture of target audiences' expectations, goals and values. In other words, personas are "models of the people for whom we believe we are solving a problem" (Lean UX).
Typically, design personas are based on extensive field research and real people. "Proto-personas" are based on best guesses and assumptions rather than extensive user research. Following a Lean UX approach, the team creates proto-personas to capture assumptions, and then adjusts personas and designs as they learn from ongoing research.
How to do it
There are many different persona formats and ways to create user personas (see Examples below). Regardless of how you go about creating personas, they should reflect/capture what you assume or know about:
- The main behavior patterns of your users
- The motivations and goals of your users
- Current pain points of your users
Why to do it
Personas add a layer of real-world consideration to project conversations and can help to uncover the most-needed features and functionality and inform decisions about information architecture and development priorities.
- Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX, chapter 3
- Usability.gov, "Personas"
- A List Apart: "Resurrecting Dead Personas" (July 26, 2016)