How to create fictional characters based on user research to represent your user groups.
On this page Skip this page navigation
What are they?
Personas are a fictional but realistic character created by combining user research data from many sources. They have names, personal characteristics, abilities and attitudes about their experiences. Personas are created to help us look across individuals to see patterns, understand who our users are in greater detail and to remind us to put people first during the design process.
Purpose of personas
Personas are used to create a reliable and realistic representation of your key audience. They can provide us with a range of different viewpoints on a service to define and engage with your target audience. This particular tool adds a real-world touch while designing and creating services and products. Personas are not created to represent all audiences or address all needs of the product, its goal is to focus on the major needs of an important user group.
How to create personas
Prior to creating your personas, you need to conduct research. An effective persona will only be as good as the research behind it. In an ideal world, personas reflect statistically accurate user groups within your population group. However, making a persona can also be a way for teams to apply a user-centred lens to a problem, while also rallying your team behind a single vision.
Depending on the situation, you may develop one or more personas for a project. Ideally you want to limit yourself to the main audiences of your product. To ensure your personas are real and provides an accurate representation of your audience, consider these details:
- Key Differentiators: Identify the key goals, behaviors attitudes that differentiates. Create a bullet list on the right and add user goals.
- Name: Come up with a name! It is critical to have a name for a persona.
- Picture: Find a photo or sketch up your own. A picture is very important. You want real people. Not models.
- Personal information: Tidbits that make this person real. Job, hobby, personality. Use tidbits to back up their behaviors and attitudes.
- Domain-specific information: For example, if you are creating a persona for first time home-buyer, you may write about their current real estate situation.
- Computer and internet usage: Internet experience, primary uses
- Profile: Personas should feel like a narrative. Mini biography of the person. What brought them to where they are today?
- Quote: Create a quote related to your user’s concern, such as “I just don’t know where to start!”
- Prioritization: Define if the user is part of the primary, secondary, tertiary audiences.
- Gender neutral: To help eliminate thoughtless associations between gender and outdated stereotypes, you may opt for gender neutral personas. For example, instead of creating “Bonnie” the “stay-at-home mom”, consider “Alex” the “stay-at-home-parent”.
- User goals: What the user wants to accomplish.
- Business Objectives: Goals that the organization wants to accomplish in relation to what the user wants.
You can also choose to add “scenarios” to your persona if you wish to make your persona more real, but it isn’t necessary. Scenarios allow us to dive deeper into the situation and provides us with more of a specific setting.
This content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. This does not include photos or logos.