Imagine you’re looking to try a new nearby restaurant. You open up your smartphone and open up something like Google Maps or Yelp to survey what restaurants are nearby to try. You consider yourself a frugal foodie. You care about what your peers think about the restaurants you try. So when searching for nearby restaurants, the things you expect to see on the app include: Pictures of the food, pictures of the restaurant itself, star ratings, written reviews, price range, (the list goes on). -- You do not expect to see (nor do you likely care… at all) what kind of batteries these restaurants use for their wall clocks, the age of their chef, what kind of pets the employees own, etc. For, these latter items are relevant to your desires and goals of finding an inexpensive trendy foodie hub.
App designers and developers of Google and Yelp know that you don’t care about these latter items. When picking a new nearby restaurant to try, they understand that you (their app user) cares about are topics relating to the restaurant's food, price, and overall experience rating.
This may seem obvious but surprisingly, many new tech companies and technical founders in particular are doing just this; They’re figuring out what is “technically possible,” and basing builds of their product on what is technically feasible without giving enough attention to what their target users need/want. As a result, they end up building extremely complicated products that seldom attract users, regardless of reliability and soundness of their technology. This is where User Personas come into play.
WHAT ARE USER PERSONAS?
Simply put, a User Persona is an abstract profile of your target user, to be used when making product decisions. When building any new software, in order save time, save development cost, and build a product that users not only like, but love and go back, it’s critically important to build product BASED ON your user’s needs/desires/ and pain points -- hence the need for an abstract User Persona to reference throughout the entire product life cycle.
User Personas in UX are built on psychographics as opposed to demographics. In other words, User Personas help founders, PMs, designers, and developers understand the behaviors, attitudes, desires, goals, and pain points, rather than focusing solely on otherwise arbitrary stats such as age, location, income, etc.
WHY DO YOU NEED USER PERSONAS?
User Personas ensure that product decisions are grounded in doing what’s best for the user. It’s often the first step to a “good user experience,” improved efficiency in product build, and a common ground for product teams to base decisions non-subjectively. Startups and product teams can streamline their product build and decision making on features by getting a more “full picture” of their target user’s needs/goals. User Personas serve as a north star for all product decisions because if we aren’t building a product to satisfy the user, then who and why are we building a product in the first place?
HOW DO YOU BUILD USER PERSONAS?
User Personas are based on basic early research of your target audience/users. There is no one answer for the anatomy of a User Persona, but generally it’s helpful to build as concrete of a profile as possible to leverage as a resource through time. Things you may include in a User Personal profile are:
User Personas are a way to neatly package information. They are not anecdotes, but rather a generalization about your target user audience through the means of a single made up identity. The core purpose of User Personas are to streamline product decision making, and build products on the basis of your target users’ goals and pain points. There is no one right answer to building a User Persona, but ultimately, those that help identify your target users’ psychographics (i.e motivations, desires, etc.) will be most informative. User Personas are dynamic as you learn more about your target user audience, but are to be leveraged as a resource throughout the entire product lifecycle.
Thanks for reading!
Holly + the uxonomy team
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