Why We Use User Personas

User personas

One of the biggest keys to a successful website is a deep understanding of the target audience. It’s vital to know demographic information like age, gender, and socioeconomic status, as well as psychographic data like what their pain points are, what they like and dislike, what motivates them, and their level of interest in whatever you’re selling.

A great way to dive in and discover information about the target audience is to create user personas, which are fictional representations of your ideal customer. A persona will generally incorporate the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target audience. When done properly, a user persona will:

  • Embody a major user group for your website
  • Define and emphasize the chief needs and hopes of your primary user groups
  • Give a clear picture of the user's expectations and how they're likely to use the site
  • Help uncover unanimously needed features and functionality
  • Depict real people with backgrounds, goals, and values

Goals of User Personas

The overall goal of user personas is to strike generic words like target audience or consumer from your vocabulary and replace them with specific names like Business-Owner Bob and South Tulsa Jessica. The greatest benefit of using names instead of general terms is that it forces everyone involved with the project to standardize their language. By doing this:

  • Stakeholders can assess new site feature ideas
  • Designers can create the overall look and feel of the website
  • Developers can decide which approaches to take based on user behaviors
  • Copywriters can ensure the site’s content is written with the right tone and voice
web design

strike generic words from your vocabulary

user persona

Creating Personas

There are hundreds of ways to create user personas, and none are necessarily more right than the others. However you do it, try to limit yourself to five personas per project. That might sound too narrow, but unless you’re creating the next Amazon, five should get the job done. Sometimes it’s best to create 10-15 personas and then combine similar personas to whittle the list down to five.

Most user persona creation processes involve answering a series of questions about the target audience. Again, there’s a laundry list of questions that you can ask yourself to create good personas, but here are the ones we use at Brookside Studios.

  • Fake Name
  • Job Title
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Personality
  • Hobbies
  • Why are they coming to the site?
  • What are their top 3 priorities?
  • What are their top 3 constraints?
  • What qualities or information is this person looking for when visiting your site?
  • What do they care about?
  • How can your company or services solve their problems or wants?

Creating user personas is one of the most important steps in a website build. They help get everyone on the same page and hyper-focused on the users’ needs. Without clearly defining who’s coming to the site and why their coming, you’re just shooting from the hip. 

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