Personas are extremely valuable tools to focus attention on the needs of a particular target market. They:
- Force the designer to think of someone other than themselves.
- Distill a target market of hundreds or thousands of people into a single person that the designer the rest of the business can begin to relate to and try to develop an understanding of.
- Provide a focal point for discussion of the user experience. Without a persona everyone involved will bring their own ideas of who the customer is. Using a person forces them to ask the question “What would Jack (the persona) do?
From some of the Personas that I have seen however , there is a tendency to over populate the details of the character. There is a delicate balance that needs to be established when doing this. Too much unnecessary detail can imply more information than the target market definition provides which can result in a solution that over focused on just one user.
Yet there is also a great opportunity to add personality to the Persona definition to give them the character and background that will help internal stakeholders develop the relationship with the Persona.
To differentiate these two types of embellishment ask how a particular trait correlates to either the target market definition or the motivation for the persona goals. If there is no correlation then either remove these traits or indicate that they are only used for “colour” and should not be significant considerations for any design decisions.
So when you create your Persona remember:
- represent a focused market segment
- have a clear and measurable goal
- ensure that the goal is relevant to the product or service that your amazing product is expecting to deliver
Read more about Personas in a previous post “5 Steps to Effective Use of Personas“