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Personas define

Identify user types based on habits and goals of real people, acquired through interviews and conversations.


Why do it:

Personas give us a person to connect with, someone who has goals for using the product, ensuring human centered design.

When to do it:

Ideally they are used after interviews and before journey mapping. That said, they are useful tools to refer to at any given point in your creation process.

Who’s involved:

Designers and stakeholders.

Time estimate:

Small (1-2 hours)

One way to do it:

  1. A persona is a representation of the needs, thoughts and goals of the target user. Think of a persona as your typical or ideal user - who do you see using your app? It helps prevent you from generalizing all users into one bucket and thinking that everyone has the same needs and goals. It also prevents you from falling into the pattern of thinking that you are going to experience the application the same way that other users will. Personas are designed to help you to empathize with individuals who might use the app, so think of them more as a bio that you might see on a social website than a job description.

  2. Using your interview notes, create one or two personas to represent your core users. Each should have a slightly different story and use case.

  3. Write down a description for each persona. While this template or this markdown one might be a useful tool to help you, a persona should generally include:

    • Name
    • Age, gender
    • Marital status
    • Occupation
    • Hobbies
    • Technology familiarity
    • Devices used

    This list can be created and shared in a text editor such as Google Docs or Etherpad.

  4. Craft a scenario in which that person would like to use your product or service. What would that user’s motivations, goals and needs be? What are their pain points and challenges? If you have a large number of participants on your call, have everyone break out into small teams (this is when a chat channel could come in handy) for 20 minutes. After the time is up, regroup and do a 5 to 10 minute verbal shareout. This will allow everyone to get on the same page and hopefully it will also provide some inspiration. If there’s time, get some initial feedback.

  5. Finesse the persona by including an image, name, and quote that expresses the needs and goals of the user. This tends to take a bit of time, so give it to participants. Having fun with persona creation is one way to help them to better understand and gain empathy for users. A tip of the trade here is to try using Creative Commons licensed images that you can find through Flickr. We highly recommend these images.

  6. Get feedback on your personas. This can be done in your chat channel, or in a document. Ultimately, it’s best to have a conversation about your decisions so that they are well informed.

  7. Take some time to alter the personas based on feedback. Sometimes you might come up with as many as eight different personas for a project! Try to see if you can cluster similar personas so that you eliminate duplicates. If you are still finding yourself with one too many personas, take a vote. Either in the chat app or on the note taking document, ask participants which persona should be the core user persona? In other words, who should you optimize your design for? Tip: Try using the Simple Poll app for Slack polls. It uses emojis to vote.

  8. One way to test if your persona is actually working might be to have someone try to describe the app or experience for your persona. What do they come up with?

    You might put your persona to use by making a Journey Map and realize that it’s not quite right. It’s expected that you will have to iterate on your personas quite a bit. Your iteration, feedback, and testing will help you to validate any assumptions that you made with your personas.


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