Designing Web or Mobile Applications may be a challenging task. We may think that we design our app, so we don’t need to think about the users. Why do we have to think about who‘ll use the application as long as our app serves our user’s needs?
Creating applications is not an easy task. We have to define: Who will use our app? What are the backgrounds of our users? What will they expect from our app? What can they do in our app? What are their frustrations after using our app? All of those questions can be solved by designing Persona for our app.
What is Persona?
So, our keyword here is Persona, but what is it? We can think Persona is group of identical users (can be from specific age range, common interests, etc) who will use our app. Simply, a single persona is made by having group of person with similar personality. We can also say those users are our target users.
Persona acts as a tool to help guide a designer to make decisions about things. They also helps the designer to know what kind of challenge and frustrations that will be there when the product is finished.
How to make one?
In order to make one, we need to gather data, analyze it, and construct our Persona based on our analysis.
We need to answer all of the questions previously on the Overview section. But how do we answer them? Conducting Interviews can be one of the solution. During the Interview process, you can ask what is like what they wanted, what they do with the upcoming design, what they dislike. Sometimes, Interview is challenging because we need time to gather people, interviewing each of them one by one, and many more.
Observing Social Media is also a good option. We can observe each user behaviors, from their hobby to their frustrations. We can almost find everything here. We may think this is a good choice, but sometimes this process is time-consuming, because gathering user’s data is difficult.
Another alternative is doing Assumptive Persona. It is an educated guess about the people that will eventually be your target user. This method probably solves the negative sides of Conducting Interviews and Observing Social Media, but it also has negative side, that our persona may be not accurate on describing our target users.
From my point of view, combining those three methods may be a best choice. We can start observing target users from social media and conducting some interviews if we still need more information. Common target user’s behaviors and frustrations can be designed with Assumptive Persona.
After we’ve gathered all data, we can start analyzing them to get some patterns. Those patterns can represent the specific group of users, then we can start making a group of target users for our app.
After we group our target users, we can start making our Persona. We will need three basic sections: goals, frustrations and behaviors (tasks) for each persona.
First, try to understand what your users core needs for using our service are, why they use our service, and what tasks they will complete with our service. Their goals should be the main rationale to base your design decisions and portray the type of content or functionality that is needed.
Second, try to understand what our users will do in our service, their behavior (to bring wider context or to interact with the system) to achieve their goals. This part can lead us to build interactive system or not.
Last, try to understand the stages in a user journey that customers struggle with and articulate them. What are our user’s hard time to understand or to use our service? This is done so they can feel like opposites to the tasks above.
Let’s take a simple example, suppose you want to build a shoe shop with online shopping features. In this pandemic era, you may be wondering how to do the research. You and your team decided to observe social media and then make assumptive personas on it.
You’ve found that while average users on the social media searching for specific type of shoes, they didn’t get recommendations from other apps they’re using. The more the filters are also reducing the number of options by the recommendation. But, what they’ve liked it is that they don’t need to sacrifice the style or options when searching by fit.
In this case, we can create a persona (suppose we named her Brandi Tyler). From the previous paragraph, we knew that her motivation is to find shoes that can fit her on the online shop. She doesn’t want to sacrifice style or options after she has found some shoes that can fit her, yet frustrated because the recommendation isn’t good enough for her. So, we can create:
Based on this Persona, one of the important feature that we can create that may help our user is to get recommendation based on fit.
Making Persona (Software Engineering Project Course 2021)
Another example, here is my implementation on Software Engineering Project Course 2021. This Persona is based on data we have from our client in Software Design course project. Our client wish to have a mobile based web design to sell aquaculture based product for distributor. There are two specific users in this system: Admin and Distributor.
The above Persona is for Admin Users. For example, we can see that Carvin as an admin has goals and tasks to see sales statistics for each day, weekly income, manage and monitor distributors. At the same time, they don’t want to have difficult User Interface.
After that, Carvin expects and wants to easily manage products and supports add multiple price dynamically. Here, we can design as follow:
Samantha, as a distributor, wants to check her transaction history and transaction progress. She hopes that she can do checkout for each product that she wanted to buy. Since the Admin can add the price dynamically, the Distributor also can see the group of prices. Here’s the design:
Back to the Title of this Article, Why Bother Using Persona when we can design immediately?
I think that Persona can really help us to determine what is our product for. Persona can lead us to implement designs that satisfy our target user’s needs. Persona allows us to know what kind of people that are going to use our product. With Persona, we can know our target user’s goals and frustrations. Hence, we can design the product to suits their needs, and avoid which doesn’t suit them.
Knowing our target user’s behavior is also important, because by then we can know what they like. It seems Persona is only important to Designers, but I think Developers must also have knowledge about Persona. From there, Developers can decide which features are worth to implement.
Making Personas is a good practice to start, Happy Researching!