Personas are archetypical fictional characters that we create as part of the user-centred design process. Personas are not actual users, although insights gained from user research are incorporated when appropriate.
Our personas are carefully compiled around market research data specifically relevant to your project, insights gained through interviews and observations and through reference to established human factors data. Each persona is described in terms of relevant attributes such as their functional and emotional needs, abilities, limitations, attitudes and preferences. We also allocate a fictional name, an image and some socio-cultural background to help create a memorable, realistic character.
Personas will give the design team a shared understanding of the diversity of user needs and a constant reference tool to help guide design decisions. The set will typically include personas with special needs, for example one might be blind and another might have restricted mobility. This helps avoid ‘self referential design’ when designers unconsciously reference their own mental models, attitudes and needs, which may be very different from that of the target user population.
You will get a range of benefits from using personas, including:
- Helping the design team to share a specific, consistent understanding of the diversity of users and their needs
- Greater empathy with the users within the design team
- Guidance for design decisions by considering how each option would be received by the various personas