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How to create the right persona

Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Servage

Create Right PersonaPersona is the most effective way to know and analyze your users. There is no way to create just right persona with accuracy, but based on field tests and experiences in interaction design and designing for user experiences enable us to develop a right process to develop persona fit for your project.

 

When we have a big audience and enough diversities among the targeted users, our understanding for targeted audience demands a well-refined and scientific process. In modern days, it is termed as persona development in web, mobile, and other software development (IT) fields along with other industries.

Web designers and web programmers have a tough time to know their audience thoroughly without creating persona documents through practical user research during designing for UX. However, no one has the perfect formula to obtain user personal for any niche or business therefore, let’s draw some essential outlines to make user persona palatable and practically viable.

 

Step #1: Select the Users and Set Parameters

If you have a well-developed user base, you can use them immediately, otherwise you will need to search them from the market or from  similar product companies or competitors. If this is not available then take the help of professional service providers in the open market.

Once you have a user-base and user data, you have opportunities to set parameters for the surveys such as: Geography, demography, psycho-graphic, and behavior of users with respective info accordingly.

 

Step #2: Take Interviews of Sample Users

We know that we rarely get the chance for face-to-face interviews, though it is most recommended way of interview. Therefore, try to arrange personal interviews for the sake of taking notes of personal behavior, facial expressions,  body language, etc. I prefer face-to-face interviews for the sake of documenting user experiences through audio and video recording during interviews.

 

Use Templates

In due course, we should have all required equipment and professionals in our team. Our first aim should be to extract as much information as possible from the users in interviews. For that we can take the help of templates made before any user research and use templates to keep uniformity in the data for analysis. Furthermore, consistency in questions lets us to accomplish tasks quickly and accurately.

Of course, using templates doesn’t mean to ask the same sort of questions in all the projects, but vary according to the nature and types of the projects and their targeted audiences.

 

Behave in a friendly manner with participants

Making conversation comfortable, asking some naive questions to show curiosity and to win the trust of the participant, only asking the most advantageous questions to shorten the interview time (hence stress of the participant), only focusing on the most relevant behaviors are some of our success secrets in user research for better designing of UX.

We always should choose to ask open-ended questions, should ask to depict things more instead simple verbose, and try to extract specific stories when we found nothing to observe in behaviors. We always should try to win the personal rapports with participants in interviews so we would have more factual and honest data compared to professional service providers.

 

Step #3: Do Qualitative Work

We should always put stress on qualitative analysis, not statistical. Therefore, our sample size should never go beyond and above the range of 5 to 30 participants per role. Moreover, we should never go ahead once we see some trends and patterns emerging from the existing users and their data. This way we can make our user research cost-effective yet productive.

Additionally, I would like to suggest that if you are not able to collect real-users, take help of agencies, but never compromise in quality of output. For the sake of better understanding the users, we need to focus on the unfiltered interaction with participants and win them through empathy. I don’t advise to go for provisional personas unless you have resources to obtain direct interaction of the users otherwise, secondhand and filtered info may be tainted with biases.

 

Step#4: Do Analysis in Righteous Ways

Analysis of data for personal development is a bit tough to do, as you have to compare innumerable variables of behavior with the participants. You know doing so is not a statistically straightforward job, but quality analysis by grouping the users and extracting their common traits. If you have enough experience and practical practices, you will have a sense of distinguishing logical patterns in data and can make appropriate groups for their roles and spectra.

 

Finally, create the persona document by inclusion of essential elements, but keep document short-one page, by focusing on only the most essential elements.
References & More Reading
A Closer Look At Personas: A Guide To Developing The Right Ones (Part 2)
A Closer Look At Personas: What They Are And How They Work (Part 1)

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