Michael is a young man, who enjoys long walks around his hometown, Haddonfield, Illinois. When it comes to his sense of fashion, Michael likes to keep it simple with a navy-blue jumpsuit. He is a man of few words; in fact, he feels more comfortable behind a mask. Others have described Michael as a man with “no feelings” and “less than human.” He can recover quickly from almost any injury (gunshots, falling from buildings, karate kicks to the face) but has an odd vulnerability to coat hangers.
Why Create User Personas?
At the start of any design project, setting the target audience is an important step. 80% of marketers who personalize content say it’s more effective than generic content efforts. Rather than labeling your audience in a broad stroke, millennials for example, you can set specific user personas to represent your ideal customer. This fictional character will help you understand a user’s needs, goals, and give insights on how they may interact with your design. Let’s say you are creating a website that will teach accused movie serial killers of their legal rights, then Michael Myers (no not this one) from the Halloween series would be the perfect user persona for your site.
When setting a persona, you need to do your research first. Start by talking to real people in your target audience. This step can be done by setting up face-to-face interviews or sending out questionnaires. Go through the information you collect and begin to look for behavior patterns, grouping people with similar answers together. At this point, you can start crafting your fictional characters based on the observed patterns, creating one user persona for each group of people you interviewed.
Creating Your User Persona
When building out a user persona, it should almost look like a social media profile. Put a face to your user by providing an image as well as a username. From there you will want to break down the user’s demographics by age, education, ethnicity, location, etc., then take a look at user habits, families, their physical/social/technological environments. Add to their identity by writing a brief bio about them. You can even add a quote to give your fictional character a voice. With this information, you’ll start to get an idea of how this user will interact with your website, which is an essential insight into the design process.
Let’s work together to mold a new user persona. We’ve already picked on Michael Myers, so let’s find a new movie character who might be interested in some legal advice.
• Name: Jason Voorhees
• Job Title/Description: Unemployed
• Age: 72
• Education: Ended in early grade school
• Location: Crystal Lake
• Family Life: Close relationship with mother, father not in the picture
• Technological Experience: Has never used a computer
• Bio: Jason is an outdoorsman and enjoys spending the majority of his time around the lake. He is afraid of going into the water after a traumatic accident as a child. Jason hates when youths visit Crystal Lake and will do anything to stop them from visiting.
• Quote – “…”
Some takeaways from our brief Jason Voorhees user persona is that with his limited technological experience and education, he may have issues interacting with our site to get information. We’ll want to make sure that the site is accessible to all audience members. Design-wise, we may want to go heavy on images to give users visual cues, including the use of icons. We may also want to consider having information offered in video and/or audio format, so regardless of reading level, users will be able to engage and learn.
Before starting any new website design project, it is crucial that you have a full understanding of your intended audience. User personas are an effective tool to use throughout the design process to make sure your designs are meeting the needs and goals of your users.