A user persona is a comprehensive description of your ideal customer. Needlessly saying, it is an essential part of the user research and contributes to product design. The key elements to establish a user persona stem from marketing management theories. If you used to study marketing management before, you probably connect user persona with STP theories easily, particularly, customer segmentation. This is a very classic way to identify where your customers, who they are and their consumption pattern by gathering demographic, geographic, behavioural and psychographic information, extracted from your primary and secondary research results.
Nowadays, starting with “a 27-year-old male banker, based in London and loves travelling” seems not sufficient to ditch “users’ digital behaviour”, in particular, when you want to dig deep into user behaviour patterns and resolve your customers’ pain points when they interact with your product. In this post, I will introduce my approach to creating user personas, by involving four dimensions: geodemographic information, needs identification, objective settings and behaviour patterns. This approach can be adopted by both UX/UI designers and product managers.
Three Quick Steps to Create Great User Personas
1. Find geodemographic information
Before focusing on the “core part” of persona, let’s get back to basics first. Obviously, to build a complete persona, geodemographic information still plays its part. In this sense, knowing who your users are and where are they are subject to determining who will be receptive to your product and communication messages and their mobility. Principal factors incorporated in geodemographic details are identified as age, gender, marriage status, education background, occupation and location.
2. Discover users’ online behaviour pattern
Traditional behaviour pattern investigation is more led by the marketing department, therefore, serves for the purpose of market and customer research. In other words, when talking about behaviour factors, we focus more on information reception and communication between customers and marketing aspect rather than checking how they interact with a certain type of product or service from the product design and development perspective. Therefore, the research on user behaviour patterns should put a focal point on every single touchpoint of the whole user journey. From the goals associated with their current behaviour to their buying and media preferences, it is necessary to dive deeper into the key drivers of these behaviour patterns. Asking “why” and “how” questions help you understand “why users do what they do in order to achieve something by using what tools or method?” and “How your users’ decision-making processes look like”. The insights elicited from behaviour pattern research would assist your product team in designing great features welcomed and loved by users, but also help the team develop engaging functions that constantly attract users.
3. Need feeding and objective settings
Before fulfilling your users’ needs and requirements, discovering user’s pain points should be considered as a priority. The pain points not only explain what keeps bothering your users around while they are engaging in a certain activity but also highlights the gap between the market offerings and users’ unfulfilled needs. Hence, understanding what the real problems your users have and why your product or service can be a pain-relief panacea on a daily basis should be mapped out in your user persona.
According to UX booth, a good persona should be equipped with the following characteristics:
- It focuses on the user’s current state and behaviour pattern, not the future
- It should be very detailed and realistic after conducting sufficient research
- It should reflect a panorama of your users’ behaviour, needs, attitudes, goals, motivations and pain points.
Once pain points are identified, the team will address these pain points by offering a solution(s). Therefore, a complete user persona should start with something like:
Chrissy is a 28-year-old lady, living and working in London. She graduated from a British university with a master degree and currently working as an IT project manager. After a long day work, she either hits gym or throw on a couch and watch Netflix. She is a travelling enthusiast so she will make a few holiday trips and one family trip every year.
- She wants to spend less time searching for flight tickets
- She wants to narrow down the options quickly
- She wants to see those destinations with cheap flight tickets quickly
- Too much time spent on browsing different booking websites
- The booking process takes too long
- No alert when ticket prices change