User Personas Guide

What it is:

Personas are representations of key audience segments that provide a clear picture of target audiences' expectations, goals and values. In other words, personas are "models of the people for whom we believe we are solving a problem" (Lean UX).

Typically, design personas are based on extensive field research and real people. "Proto-personas" are based on best guesses and assumptions rather than extensive user research. Following a Lean UX approach, the team creates proto-personas to capture assumptions, and then adjusts personas and designs as they learn from ongoing research.

How to do it:

There are many different persona formats and ways to create user personas (see Examples below). Regardless of how you go about creating personas, they should reflect/capture what you assume or know about:

  • The main behavior patterns of your users
  • The motivations and goals of your users
  • Current pain points of your users

Why to do it:

Personas add a layer of real-world consideration to project conversations and can help to uncover the most-needed features and functionality and inform decisions about information architecture and development priorities.