Understanding UX Design and User Persona
User Experience (UX) Designing deals with the process to specify the kind of experience the users will have while using any product. The designing primarily revolves around how efficiently it can provide the user with a relevant and profound performance. UX Designing keeps an account of how an user would feel about a product/service and the ease of accessibility that can be provided during the interaction process.
The process of User Experience Designing involves five key phases – product definition, research, analysis, design, validation. Product definition starts off as the first phase by finding the relevant context for the product to exist. Once the product idea is established, the designing team moves on to the next phase: research. This phase includes both user (target audience) research and market (niche) research, including in-depth interviews as well as competitor fact-finding. This facilitates the next step involving the analysis of the collected database and creating User Personas. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of effects are derived from 20% of the causes – therefore to make your product/service content truly pathbreaking, it needs to be customised according to buyer personas and the stages of the buyer’s journey. A structured and systematic depiction of the target audience becomes the key influencing factor behind successful designs and effective validations.
The persona developed by this research focuses on the specific needs and behavioural representation of the audience. The different elements of a user persona comprise the group, the name, various demographic details such as age, education, ethnicity, family statuses etc. including the purpose that they are approaching the site for. It also includes their economic, social, technological, political and physical surroundings as well as needs – the pointers which link the user’s significant or immediate choices with the aspects of the website or app.
Pre-stages of creating personas
Questionnaires, virtual and physical interviews and group or individual communication techniques are used to initiate research which helps in determining the suitable use for a product and the data is noted down to form a concrete idea about the requirements of the user.
Finding potential users
The design group then analyses this data in order to find out the assumed affinity of the user towards the product, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The higher the affinity, the more likely they are to turn out as the target audience.
A hypothesis is formed by minutely studying every preference variation of potential users that might relate to a product/service. Such a hypothesis helps in understanding the user individually and forms a clear and dependable representation of the target audience.
It involves determining what the user will prefer and under what circumstances will the user be most drawn towards the product.
The information thus collected is categorised into types so that the design group is able to establish user patterns and identify the general etiquette of the user. Classified data also helps the team to recognise if there are more than one type of potential user groups.
The foundation of data collected to depict a persona is a collection of personal and public information involving the occupation, sex and daily lifestyle of the user. Designers stay in continuous contemplation about what the persona would think about a certain function, in parallel relation to what the function has been designed for.
Once the persona comes into existence, scenarios are to be considered in which the persona has the most convincing environment for using or purchasing the designed product.
Characteristics of a good persona
An ideal persona aims at helping the designing team make a product with elevated user experience. The persona should consist of abundant data, and conclusions derived from the data. The points reflected in the interviews should be applied in the present context, i.e. situating the persona in the same circumstance as the product is trying to deal with.
Let’s take a look at some examples to understand this aspect more clearly.
One user might be the target customer of a mobile manufacturing company, a laptop manufacturing company as well as a roadside cafe, at the same time. Their name, age, weight, height, education, ethnicity, family status etc. would remain the same but for each product/service, the relevant pain points of the user will differ. Concern about their heavy workload can lead the same user to look for a mobile with a fast processor, a laptop with ample storage capacity and a cafe that provides them with solace. Therefore, it is imperative for the user personas made by each of these three establishments to concentrate on the context in which their target audience would associate themselves with their product/service.
The persona should be practical and not based on moralities or biased point of views. They should highlight the difficulties and put forth a practical challenge that motivates the team towards a positive product development experience.
Constructing a User Persona
Basic demographic necessities
This collection includes details like first and last name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, address etc. The purpose is not just to accumulate the data but to establish a prototype of the target user. For instance, with the help of this data, one can determine which age group is surfing through a particular website at what time of the day and whether they are readers with higher or lesser concentration span.
The picture is used to inculcate the age, gender expression and body language of the persona. The picture helps in humanising the persona data into a relatable user. Pictures can also bring out a certain connection that humanises your user and it’s just enough for the designer to feel the experience created is for a very real person.
The design team must also take into account how the persona might express their emotions in real life – if they are laid back or motivated, reserved or funny, curious or distasteful. It also helps to know if they identify as extroverts, introverts or ambiverts and how they accommodate similar traits with their expenditure, life choices and location.
It is crucial to identify the goal of a user persona and understand if the goal is relevant to the functioning of the product. For instance, if your user has a goal of selling a house, your website will not be of direct help, if it showcases furniture for a new house.
It is significant to know what intimidates or troubles the user and if the product is being able to help the user deal with their hurdles, i.e. provide a potential solution to their pain points. The user’s frustration will likely guide them to buy a product that will either do away with their frustration or distract them from their pain point effectively.
Benefits of having a User Persona
To be able to establish a persona is the pivotal aspect of forming the product because it has myriad benefits that contribute to the process.
Having comprehensive knowledge about the target audience is vital to any product/service development as it clearly indicates their acceptance possibilities in the market.
Formation of personas are important because if there are conflicts regarding the layout of the product, the team automatically has to go with the persona’s preference rather than individual choices. This enables a holistic workspace.
Useful Product Functions
It is often seen that if generalisations are taken into consideration while making a product, the team ends up constructing functions that will never be of help to the user. A user persona helps in setting up relevant functions. The detailed research helps to cancel out this risk because everything is based on the well-researched behavioural pattern of the potential user.
Design Element Ranking
Personas help in ranking design elements by predicting which is going to be the most used function or element of the product/service in question.
In conclusion, the establishment of a user persona overpowers traditional and time-consuming methods of finding out user demands attached to a product/service. Personas make design teams more efficient and swift during the development process. A product made on the basis of user personas becomes a pure offshoot of what the targeted user wants and gets released with a chance of being more sustainable in the market.