Identifying user personas helps you to understand the different kinds of people you're designing for, and what each of them needs from your solution.
Why do you use it:
Because of the natural diversity of humans, no solution is truly 'one size fits all' - but it's often impractical to customise your solution for every individual user, too. User personas help you to group your target audience into segments with similar experiences and needs, so that you can ensure your solution meets as many of those needs as possible.
When to use it:
In the empathy stage, we're looking to understand the specific needs of different users we might be designing for, so that we can generate solutions that will actually work for the people who'll use them. Creating personas helps you to understand the needs of each segment of your audience, so that you can make informed decisions about how your ideas can meet those needs.
How to use it:
Each persona represents one particular segment or group of your target audience. You can create just one persona, but it's usually helpful to create 3-6 of them to better understand the differences between the people you're designing for.
- Illustration: A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you're feeling brave or you fancy yourself as a bit of an artist then have a go at giving your persona a look and feel.
- Short Bio: This should be a summary of who your persona is, and why they're important to consider in your design. Try to keep the bio short and sweet, like a tweet or Instagram bio.
- Demographics: This section contains key demographics for the persona. As a default, this includes their name, age, occupation and location, but if there are different kinds of demographic data that better fit your persona, feel free to cross out the headings given and write ones that are better suited.
- Top Priorities: This refers to your persona's top priorities generally speaking, not necessarily in relation to the problem at hand. In their professional or personal life (depending on what's most relevant to the challenge), what's most important to them? How do they measure their own success?
- Goals and Motivations: This is about what your persona is trying to achieve in the context of the challenge you're working on. Why is this particular challenge important to them?
- Feelings and Emotions: How is this persona feeling about this challenge? The emotional drivers of their behaviour can give you helpful clues about what's needed from your solution.
- Concerns and Challenges: What makes this challenge particularly difficult for this persona? What are their biggest pain points, or the things that are most obviously not working right now?