Synthesizing User Research and Creating Personas

Welcome to the next lesson of UX design. In the previous article, we learn the benefit of competitive research as well as how to do it properly to improve your own design, link to the previous article.

In this module, you will learn how to synthesize user research to create personas.

What is Persona?

Personas are a simple tool that allows you to design your product with a particular target user in mind rather than a generic one in mind. It is a depiction of actual target audience data acquired via earlier research such as user interviews.

Synthetizing User Research

Most designers work in multidisciplinary teams that have team members with varying expertise, experience, and points of view. All team members should be on the same page in terms of design decisions. Personas encapsulate the most critical information about users in a way that all team members and stakeholders can understand and relate to.

Common tactics to synthesize user research to your personas:

  • Affinity Mapping: sort by clustering themes (DEFINE BETTER!)
  • Journey Mapping: linear experience; time-based; usually for customer
  • Service Mapping: non-linear experience; path-based; usually for organization
  • Observations: indirect themes or recurring patterns
  • Interpretations: underlying motivations or assumptions not explicit
  • Direct quotes
  • How Might We questions

User Personas in 5 Easy Steps

Personas may be generated in a variety of methods, depending on the budget, project type, and data designers have access to. While full step-by-step instructions on how to develop a persona are beyond the scope of this article, the following broad flow may be provided:

1. Gather information about your users.

The first stage is to undertake user research to better understand the attitudes, motivations, and behaviors of the target audience. The most realistic personas are based on genuine field research — they are distilled from in-depth user interviews and real-world observation data. It is critical to get as much information and knowledge about users as possible by interviewing and/or watching a large enough number of individuals who reflect a target audience. The more a researcher sees and records during these conversations, the more realistic the character.

2. Recognize behavioral patterns in study data

The next stage is to analyze the research results. The purpose of this stage is to uncover patterns in user research data that allow comparable individuals to be grouped into kinds of users. A straightforward strategy:

  • When the study is completed, make a list of all of the behavioral variables (i.e., how users’ behavior changed).
  • Each interviewee (or real-life user characteristic) should be mapped to the relevant collection of variables.
  • Recognize trends (find a set of people clustering across six or eight variables). These grouping patterns will then serve as the foundation for each character.

3. Create and prioritize personas

Following that, it is critical to organize a persona’s descriptions around behavioral patterns. The researcher’s job here is to define each character in a manner that shows enough knowledge and empathy to help the users comprehend. Avoid the temptation to include too much personal information during this step: one or two pieces of personality may bring a persona to life, but too many details will be distracting and will make the persona less believable as an analytical tool.

According to Don Norman, “[personas] just need to be realistic, not actual, and not even necessarily correct (as long as they appropriately represent the user base).”

Researchers often build many personas for each product. Because most interactive products have different audience groups, it appears sensible to create numerous identities. However, if there are too many identities, the process might become chaotic. Personas may easily blend. As a result, at this stage, it is also vital to reduce the number of user personas so that design may be focused, which may lead to greater success. While there is no magic number, three or four identities are usually sufficient for most tasks.

Tip: If you have more than one persona, choose the major (most significant) persona and apply the guideline “create for the main — accommodate the secondary.” Design choices should be developed with the main persona in mind and then tested against the subsidiary personas (through a thought experiment).

4. Identify interaction scenarios and establish user personas UX documentation

Personas are worthless in and of themselves. They only become useful when they are related to a situation. A scenario is a fictitious scenario that depicts how a persona would engage with a product in a certain circumstance to reach its ultimate objective (s). Scenarios assist designers in understanding the major user flows — by coupling the user personas with the scenarios, designers collect requirements and generate design solutions based on those needs. Scenarios should be created from the persona’s point of view, generally at a high level, and should clarify use scenarios that are likely to occur.

When developing a user persona, you should generally include the following information:

  • Name of the persona
  • Photograph
  • The demographics (gender, age, location, marital status, family)
  • Goals and requirements
  • Frustrations (sometimes known as “pain spots”)
  • Behavioral Patterns
  • Personality traits (e.g. a quote or slogan that captures the personality)

5. Present your results to the team and get their approval

Personas must be socialized across stakeholders for the design team to go further. Personas should have a good relationship with all team members and stakeholders, and they should perceive the value in them. As individuals grow acquainted with the personas, they begin to refer to them as if they were real persons. A well-crafted character virtually becomes a team member in its own right.

Tip: Having posters, cards, action figures, and other real, tangible items to express identities and keep them front of mind is usually more successful than having a digital equivalent, such as a doc file or PowerPoint presentation.

Conclusion

Personas are very effective tools. When done correctly, user personas simplify the design process by guiding ideation processes and assisting designers in achieving the aim of producing a good UX for the target users. Personas allow designers to work more mindfully by placing the actual user at the center of everything they do

Lifetime learner