Persona Development for Design Success

By Samantha Silver

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       It seems obvious that when designing a product or app, you should have a clear understanding of who you are designing for. Who is the product or app made for and how will that individual use it? It might seem easier or more cost-effective to just try to make a “one-size-fits-all” type of product, however, that is not addressing user specific needs and wants. As more and more products flood the marketplace, users are looking to find product and content that is specific to them and their needs. In order to make designs successful for users, it is important to understand the people who are going to be the users.

      First, let’s review what a persona is. A persona is fictional, or characterized, description of what the target users of the product look like. It highlights their needs, wants, and desires for the product and how the product will address a current need or want. It also expresses their motivations for using the product. While the persona is a sort of fictional archetype, they should still be described as if they were real, living people in order to fully address the entire scope of the user and their desires. Personas are important factors for overall user-experience success and for the user-centered design process. Personas help to take common user needs, wants, and pain points and help unify them as well as make sure they are implemented in the design process and final product. This helps products and app appear personalized to the wants and desires of the users, rather than a general product. It helps the user feel as though the product is not only addressing their specific needs, but also highlighting the user as the central component of the design process.

      As mentioned earlier, consumers in today’s marketplace are looking for products and services that are specific to their needs. There are tons of different products and apps on the marketplace today, it is important to consider what makes a user select your product over another? Persona development can ultimately help your product address the specific user needs and desires in order to be more successful. Persona development is focused on creating and developing empathy and understanding of the needs, wants of the user, and ultimately- the user themselves. Designing a product that is for “everyone” just serves to compile all your users into one category- which is impossible and ineffective. This approach assumes that all users- all humans- have the same wants and desires and needs. We know this to be true, and it is no different for our users. 

      This is why the development of personas is so critical to the overall success of a product. User's seek our products and apps that are unique to their specific wants and needs. Developing personas helps to make the design process more solidified by being able to better inform the designers as to what they need to do in order to make sure that the user's goals, motivations and desires are addressed throughout the design process. By knowing exactly who the user of a product is, it helps to illuminate the way in which content should be placed or created to help make the product more successful. It also helps provide a “face” to the user of the product, which not only keeps the end goal clear but helps to prevent designers or developers from placing their own biases into the product. Keeping the user at the center of the design process ensures that the final product is exactly what the user needs and is looking for.

      Persona development helps to take data about users and makes it more dynamic and engaging by bringing them to life as characters that we can talk about. It helps to ensure the success of a product by making sure that it addresses the needs of a specific user, which will ensure that the product serves to help meet the needs of that user. Persona development help to ensure that the user remains at the forefront of the design process. By understanding who the specific user for your product is, it will ensure that the final product is exactly what the user is looking for.

 

READ MORE: 3 Ways to Incorporate Personas Into Every Department at your Company, What Do You Do After You’ve Built Behavioral Personas, Behavioral Persona Development: A Crash Course, “Personas” from Around the World | UX Fellows Style