All you need to know about User Persona – Advantages, types, uses, challenges, FAQs.

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What is a User Persona?

User Persona is a partly fictional character that is created by a company to represent the different kinds of customers or target audience that will use their product or services. 

User Personas are the kind of profiles that reflect the target audience of a business. By target audience, we mean the type of customer that the business wants to aim for in order to market and sell their service or product. 

Though user personas are partly fictional, they are written as if the individuals are real and reflect similar attributes like age, gender, cohort, etc. Hence, the research and data gathered with respect to the target customer base, which is reflected in the user persona should be very close to the observations of the real-world users. 

The aim of user personas is to deliver a realistic and reliable reflection of the real-world users and how a particular group of customers is likely to interact with a business’ product or service. 

What are the advantages of user persona? 

A user persona that is well-researched, close to real-world customer traits, and analytical is highly fruitful for a company’s product development process, marketing, and sales. 

The user persona ensures that the initiatives are taken by the company to promote the product, for instance, sales and marketing, are carried out keeping the user in mind. Furthermore, they are used to understand whether or not the user will engage with the product the way the company expects it to. 

When it comes to product development, scope creep or the development of unnecessary updates or features needs to be avoided at all costs by catering to the genuine needs of the customer. The team’s efforts are directed towards building what the user persona would want instead of building what the designer or engineers want. 

When user persona is considered the main goal, the marketing plans are perfectly executed. The key audience’s opinions and preferences should be kept in mind through the user persona while referring to the tone of voice, advertising strategies, marketing strategies, publishing channels, etc. 

What are the types of User Persona?

Goal-focused Personas

A goal-focused persona is a methodology that is used when the user needs to solve an issue. The aim is to establish how the user engages and interacts with a product by understanding the workflow and processes that the user is likely to take. This type of user persona is usually identified alongside User Experience (UX) and product development. 

Role-focused Personas

A role-focused persona is considered with understanding the persona in the organization and how that affects the decision-making and organizational behavior. This type of persona broadens the perspective as opposed to the goal-focused persona. 

It is more concerned with how the environment and functions of the job affect the demand for the company’s product or service. 

Engaging Personas

Engaging persona is a holistic approach which gives designers an unlimited possibility to explore how they engage with users. The characteristics of this persona range from emotions to social factors and their psychology. Bringing the persona alive by creating stories, is the main emphasis. Such a strategy ultimately helps to deliver a better product because there is genuine envisioning of a person. 

When do you need a User Persona?

The user persona is mainly needed as an effective guide in any ideation process. It helps the development team to understand how the user will interact with the product or service, how they are likely to behave, what they are experiencing and will experience, and what their objectives are.

User Persona also helps to foster customer empathy in the team so that the efforts are directed to a single goal. Once you understand the different types of personas as mentioned above, your business can understand several needs and expectations of the target customer and how to cater to their issues. 

What is the use of User Persona?

User persona serves as a reference point to keep coming back to throughout the development process. It ensures that the development progress is in alignment with the target user’s needs. 

For instance, questions such as, “How would the user feel, experience, react, think or behave when there is a feature X  or change Y that is brought in?” 

By asking such questions, customer empathy is promoted and a connection is formed with the target audience before even catering to their needs. To know more about what customer empathy is and how to develop it within your team, click here

What is the history of User Persona?

The history of user persona dates back to the 1990s. That was the time when research surrounding different IT systems began and concepts such as user archetypes, user models, and lifestyle snapshots came into being. 

User persona is an understanding of cohorts and behaviors of a group that is bound by one or more similar traits. This created a singular profile which is considered to represent a particular group of people. 

What are the challenges in creating a User Persona?

An extensive amount of time and resource investment is required to develop a detailed user persona. However, such an attempt can also lead to an extraordinarily high-level user persona that does not accurately represent the target audience and inflates the existing traits from the real population. 

In order to tackle these issues, companies resort into holding a small number of interviews for the users, and the data that is gathered is then extrapolated from the base. However, again such a thing results in unrealistic user personas because observations of specific users can either overestimate or underestimate the actual problem. 

Moreover, when the research team is underfunded or gathers random data based on experience or gut feelings, it becomes way more problematic. There could be an internal bias which branches away from the actual user needs that are present. This way, it could be possible that all the investment that the team or the company is doing is actually a wasted effort because of the faulty persona.  

It is important that user personas are straight-forward and free of as much internal as possible. If the user persona is created with an unconscious motive to validate the team’s ideas, it can potentially have the exact opposite effect of what is expected. 

FAQs

Q: What is a user persona? 

A: User Persona is a partly fictional profile that is created by a company to demonstrate the different kinds of customers or target audience that will use their product or services. User Personas are the kind of profiles that reflect the target audience of a business. 

Q: What is the main aim of the user persona? 

A: The aim of user personas is to deliver a realistic and reliable reflection of the real-world users and how a particular group of customers is likely to interact with a business’ product or service. 

Q: When was the user persona invented? 

A: The history of user persona dates back to the 1990s when research around different IT systems concepts such as user archetypes, user models, and lifestyle snapshots came into being. User persona is an understanding of cohorts and behaviors of a group that is bound by one or more similar traits. This created a singular profile which is considered to represent a particular group of people.

Q: What is a negative user persona? 

A: The negative user persona is exactly the opposite of the traditional persona. It aims to find clients who are likely to repel your product or service. 

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