What Is the User Persona and How to Define It
If you are an entrepreneur, who wants to begin your startup, if you are looking for ways to do it in the best possible way, if you worry that the developer or team won’t understand you the way you expect, this article is for you.
Have you ever heard about TheraTactics or Xinja? Both of them are failed startups, which secured funding of $320,000 and $100,600,000 respectively. Everybody knows unicorns and nobody remembers the failed ones.
Biggest share of a startup’s success depends on the correct task formulation, which the startup is meant to solve. Here you can’t manage without understanding emotions that correspond to emotions of the people, whom we consider our target audience.
One of the famous techniques that allows you to empathize with your target audience is working with the user persona. A user persona is a representation of the real target audience, which helps to avoid the issue of resolving the wrong problem for the wrong audience. Besides, it helps you to synchronize with the development team to establish a transparent vision of the task, avoiding miscommunication and wasted budget.
Who we are and why we are raising the topic of creating a user persona for a project? We have been in software development for 20 years. We don’t aim for just creating perfect code, we aim for successful results for customer’s business. We want to fill our work with sense and share it with those who want to change the world. We are not ready to stay silent for the sake of spending your budget. Your success is our success.
And we will start with what is the user persona and how to define them correctly. We will explain how to create a user persona step by step and why it is worth doing it.
What is a user persona?
When we offer you to imagine a typical user of your app or service, everything that comes to your mind like characteristics, the entire portrait, circumstances, needs, habits, behavioral patterns will be a user persona, an average image of your typical user.
This way we get an understanding of your target audience, of real people who will use your app. Thus we know what they want and need, their experience and goals, and whether we fit into the picture of their world with our solution.
There is a high chance of skipping this step, because it seems so obvious and plain, however, try to sit down and write down some answers, and you will understand how tricky it actually is.
Why do you need a user persona?
Ideal products do not appear in a moment. The creation of a successful solution is a long process in which improvement is an inseparable part of it. Give us a second, we will explain the connection.
Before the release of the product, it seems to the owner that he or she misses out on something significant and important. They have a fear that the product is imperfect and something needs to be completed in it. It is expressed through a subconscious desire to continue polishing the product, to add another very important feature (an A-student syndrome). But the thing is that it is impossible to jump into a mature product, which is demanded and liked by everyone in the blink of an eye.
Your product can be compared with a human being — nobody appears super cool and successful entrepreneur from mother’s womb. The journey of self-improvement, development, and struggle is necessary for that, without which the formation of personality is impossible. The same story is about your product. As they say, success is not a final destination, it is a journey. And creating a user persona is a starting point in your journey which helps you:
- To create the demanded product among people you target at.
- To focus on the right target audience.
- To understand the maximum amount of problems users face, and to pick the most perspective among them.
- To evaluate roughly the depth of the market. In other words, it helps to assess how many users are potentially interested in your product.
- To pick precisely “early adopters”- people for whom the solved problem is the most actual and who will help to test business hypotheses further on. The first followers will help to understand whether the problematics was defined correctly.
- To indicate dependencies on other individuals that influence a persona’s decision.
- To think through channels for expansion of the product and lead generation.
- To make UX/UI focused on user persona so that all of them love their user journey.
Finally, we’ve moved to the most interesting part of how to do it. Let’s get started without delay.
Give all associations appearing with user persona without any limits. Write down anything at all. As a good example this document can consist of a few following points:
- demographics :age, gender, income, location, education, job title. It gives a quick insight into a persona’s lifestyle, background, and behavioral practices.
- personality characteristics : single, tech-savvy, careful. Pick adjectives that define how personas’ personality is different from other potential customers.
- motivations and goals, frustrations. What is preventing your persona from achieving their goals? Are there any frustrations with current solutions? This is a key section when it comes to defining the services of your product.
- hobbies and interests. It helps us to get to know the user persona better and embrace their needs.
- preferred channels of communication. Help to understand what kind of channels should be used to sell the product.
- persona’s preferred brands and influencers. Economic and social status, interests.
Let’s say we want to develop an app for selling rare orchids. According to our plan, the portrait of our potential customer will look the following way: female of 35–50, married and has kids, is educated, and a housewife from Poland. She is caring, attentive, sociable, and active. Also, she is not tech-savvy. She is into floristics and gardening, handcrafting, and prefers personal communication or over the phone.
The user persona is motivated by enriching her rare orchid collection with new orchids and frustrated by the lack of centralized source for rare orchid purchase and sale. Also, she is frustrated by lack of information about how to take care of the flowers due to the paid involvement of third parties in sale and purchase processes, necessary due to lack of platform, where buyers and sellers would meet directly. She spends an enormous amount of time searching for flowers for her collection that are budget-friendly and for selling her orchids. This information can be easily found on florist forums.
As you can see, persona is a dynamic instrument that provides the information your team needs to effectively do their job. For example, since the target audience are non tech-savvy females, the structure of the solution should be simple and intuitive, onboarding materials and tutorials should be easily understandable and accessible, there should be an opportunity to add photos of flowers and direct communication channel for buyer-seller, so that our user persona is able to get to know all information, that is missing at the moment due to mediation.
User persona can be modified and completed with big characteristics during the process of learning about the market and problematics. Make sure that you have details about that information’s source and accuracy and enough breadth to represent the range of individuals covered by the persona.
Now when we have tons of information, we need to filter and group the list of ideas about the persona. And then highlight the most important characteristics for persona and business ideas.
You can perform user interviews in the form of online or offline questionnaires, interviews, or discussion groups. The goal is to find bright representatives of the target audience, with which you can double-check whether the right problem is solved by your product. After performing user interviews, have a look at the gathered data and search for common patterns and trends.
Share your user persona within your team
Persona and its key need is a point of synchronization of the whole team. Keeping in mind a specific purpose and people, for whom the problem is solved, each team member of the project becomes more deeply involved in it and can be the source of the right idea within the borders of their responsibility zone. Therefore, they can take small but the most suitable solutions for the target audience independently.
A user persona is a simple but powerful tool that makes a huge difference between success and failure and helps to focus on your target audience and its problems. It helps to avoid a few typical mistakes made by entrepreneurs and concentrate on your user.
We hope that user persona will help you on your startupper’s journey and you will find the creation of a user persona beneficial for the success of your business. If you have any ideas or questions, feel welcome to reach out and share them with us.
Originally published at https://anadea.info on July 23, 2021.