Design is the core of every business. But nowadays people don’t like boring and generic things. They want something unique, eye-catching and problem-solving. That’s where design thinking along with personas come in. With design thinking your emphasis is on understanding the needs of users and how you can provide the best experience to them.
With personas you represent different user segments. Then use it to create a compelling design which empathizes with them. Basically with this you tailor solutions to the diverse needs of their target audience.
But is that all?
Is the role of personas in design thinking limited to this?
No. There’s much more to how personas shape their design thinking. In this blog we’ll briefly discuss this and also understand how you can implement this incredible strategy.
So keep reading.
What Are Personas?
Personas are fictional characters. They are made after thorough research. The purpose of this is to segment your audience. So each persona represents a different user type which uses your product, service or website. By creating personas you are helping designers. How?
Because designers easily understand user needs, pain points, expectations, experiences and goals.
Here are some of the key characteristics of persona.
- Demographics: Details like age, gender, location, education, and occupation. E.g – Persona “Alex,” a 28-year-old urban professional with a master’s degree in finance.
- Behaviors: Typical actions and patterns related to the product or service. E.g – Alex prefers using mobile banking apps for financial transactions and values quick, secure payment methods.
- Goals and Needs: Primary objectives, motivations, and requirements of the persona. E.g – Alex’s goals include effective financial management, quick access to transaction history, and secure mobile banking.
- Pain Points: Identifies challenges or frustrations the persona may encounter. E.g – Alex’s pain points involve concerns about the security of mobile banking transactions and difficulties in tracking and categorizing expenses.
- Quotes or Narratives: Fictional quotes or narratives to give the persona a voice. E.g – : “I’m always looking for tools that streamline my coding workflow and help me contribute effectively to the developer community.” Persona “Sarah,” a software developer.
Characteristics of a Good Persona
You might be wondering how you can create a good persona. Creating a persona is extremely crucial so you’ve to ensure the process is perfect.
The difference between average persona and great persona is simple.
Average persona = Vague, poorly researched
Good persona = Detailed, realistic and relatable.
It should be based on the actual group of users. Thus it must describe the needs of users with evidence.
But isn’t persona a fictional character why is it based on real person? What does that mean?
Suppose you’re running an online shop for female business owners. The persona should be relevant to female business owners needs, problems and solutions. If you create personas that don’t relate to ground reality then all your effort and money will be in vain.
It should give clear insights to what user motivations, goals might be and how they interact with your product or service.
Now here comes the big question. How can you get all this data?
You can use research approaches such as surveys, interviews to get real data.
5 Ways Personas Impact Design Thinking
If you do not understand your target audience then you won’t be able to create a product that sells. The secret to a successful design and product is understanding its users. Here are five ways personas impact design thinking.
Answers To Questions
When a product team is designing the product they want to ensure this product disrupts the market. If it doesn’t disrupt then it should at least win the hearts of users.
Personas help a lot in this aspect. They tell the team answers to important questions. It gives a detailed view of who is the user for which they are designing the product for. Once they understand users they are able to create a product which satisfies user needs.
An Empathetic Approach
If designers want to create something incredible then one core value for that is “Empathy.” Without it you can’t design a product which solves user problems.
But how does personas help?
With personas design thinking gets better because designers get a broader perspective of users. The design team and users are on the same page.
When they consider what a persona might need they are actually thinking about how to connect with the user.
That’s why it’s best to interact maximum with personas. This is what helps in designing the best product for customers.
Get Clarity Regarding Design Decisions
Product strategy is crucial for designers. With personas you can make this tough task easier. If you’ve deep understanding of users you know about the needs and motivations of customers. Here’s how the process goes.
Deep understanding of user personas → Easy to define product → Product made for users → user-centered point of view.
The design teams can prioritize feature requests in advance. The features are tied to the primary persona. Basically how well they articulate their needs. It helps in smooth handling of design decisions.
Suppose your app is for an audience aged 40 to 60 years. So it’s possible most of them might suffer from bad eyesight. You notice that the font size is extremely small and the send button is also not appealing.
Instead of saying, I think this is the right approach. You should handle the situation by saying this.
Since Karen is our primary person and she’s around 55 years old with some health issues. It’s best to make the font size bigger which will reduce eye strain.
Eliminate Common Design Thinking Mistakes
You can minimize so many design thinking mistakes with personas. One of the biggest issues is self-referential design. It’s when designers design products not for users but for themselves.
- They think this feature will work better.
- They think this color is better.
They don’t think from the user point of view. Most often target audience preferences are quite opposite of self-referential designs.
Another mistake is the elastic user. It is a generic user and has different meanings. But this can have negative consequences for business. Why does this happen?
It’s when the decisions of products are made by different stakeholders and they change the definition of ‘user’ according to their liking whenever needed.
Efficient Communication Regarding Researches
Communication is the key. Often designers work in different teams which have varivale experience, expertise and approach. It’s important to ensure that the design team is on the same page.
With personas you can achieve it. With it designers can understand the most critical information and present it in a way that’s understandable for all team members and stakeholders.
Different Types of Design Thinking Personas
To create personas that shape design thinking you should know more than just the definition of persona. You need to know its types and understand how it works. So here are four major categories of user personas. You can choose the best category which aligns with your design goals.
These are lightweight and lean personas. They are based on the existing knowledge and assumptions of the design team about the users. When should you use it?
They are a great way to kickstart your project. Because it gives you clarity about two things.
- What do you already know about users?
- Where are the knowledge gaps?
When your project initiates you start building proto-personas. But at the same time you’re also collecting real data from research. Proto-personas are effective however some decisions are made on the basis of assumptions. So it’s best to proceed with caution.
It’s a detailed and data-driven representation of your customer. In proto-personas assumptions and expertise of team design plays a crucial role. But in qualitative personas there is a combination of various qualitative data points.
It ranges from end-user behavior to their attitude, needs to goals.
It’s a quantitative approach in which you gather data by implementing quantitative research methods. These methods include surveys, analytics and research to find key characteristics of the target audience.
It is considered one of the best personas. Do you know why?
Because it is a combination of qualitative and quantitative data approaches. These data points ensure you get a complete picture of your customers and their experiences.
Steps to Creating Effective Personas
Now that you’re aware of what persona is it’s time to create a persona to skyrocket your design thinking. Here are five steps you should follow.
- Gather insights about your target audience through surveys, interviews, and analytics to understand their needs and behaviors. Look for commonalities in the data.
- Group your audience into segments based on shared traits. Develop detailed personas, giving them names, job titles, and personal details. Include demographics, behaviors, motivations, and challenges.
- Determine which personas are most critical to your business goals and focus on them. Validate your personas with real users to ensure accuracy. Use feedback to refine and adjust your personas as needed.
- Distribute the personas across your organization to ensure a unified understanding of your target audience. Apply personas in product/service design, marketing, and communication strategies. Tailor experiences to address the specific needs of each persona.
- Market dynamics change, so revisit and update your personas regularly to reflect evolving customer behaviors and trends. Assess effectiveness through metrics.
Dos and Don’ts For Good Personas For Design Thinking
Now that you’re aware of how to create a persona here’s something you should know. There’s a huge difference between good personas for design thinking and an average persona. Here are some do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind.
|Do’s For Good Persona
|Don’ts For Good Persona
|Base personas on thorough user research.
|Don’t rely on stereotypes or rumors.
|Include specific demographics, behaviors, and goals.
|Avoid generalizing or oversimplifying user characteristics.
|Capture detailed user behaviors and patterns.
|Avoid vague or insufficient information on user behaviors.
|Develop scenarios grounded in real-world situations.
|Don’t create scenarios that are unrealistic or unlikely.
|Validate personas with team members and stakeholders.
|Avoid creating personas in isolation without input from others.
There is no doubt that persona is an incredible tool for design teams. If you do proper research and make ideal personas then you can make the design process less complicated.
Because ideation procedure guides designers to achieve their goal of creating an amazing design. Designers work in a more mindful manner because they are aware of user needs.
The results are absolutely incredible. Because at every stage of design you’re keeping your users in mind. Your designs are made to solve their problems. That’s how customers connect with design and with brands as well. It’s a strategic approach that every business should adopt which will help them get a competitive edge.