In the modern, digitally driven, contextual and mobile-first world, your customer-first attitude will help you scale and grow better. Most businesses believe they are giving the customers what they need but, who is actually asking them if they need the product you are creating or not. Very few actually study the customer’s pain area, and develop products.
This is not just true for businesses solving a purpose but also for designers creating web or mobile solutions. They develop the solutions that they believe the customer wants or needs. Most of the customer experience is not warranted for, and results in a drastic customer attrition for the mobile application or website.
If you don’t deliver on the user experience needs, you don’t deliver at all.
The quality promises are fulfilled only when you are able to provide the user experience they are looking for.
We have been and are still users, and have had some troubling experiences accessing a few sites. For instance, certain mobile solutions try to ape their web counterparts, resulting in a big menu that does not fit the small screen. When we try to access the menu, we either end up clicking on the wrong icon or are unable to click at all. The icons are placed at varied distances, and cannot be accessed by the thumb easily.
If you take the Netflix application or the website, it is pretty user-friendly, and you can easily move from one screen to another. If you are watching the series, and you want to go back to the main series page, there is a back button at the top that can be easily accessed while you are in the landscape mode. This user-friendliness needs to be derived out of your application.
A user needs to be defined before you define the design process. We believe that, just as in content you need to write for the different personas, there is a need to define and design for the personas in the design world as well.
Here, we will discuss in depth how you can define the personas and design for them, using what you know and deriving knowledge from techniques you can learn. So, are we ready to start?
Personas and their need
What is a persona? It is basically a representation of the goals of the project by placing the needs and interests of the user in place. For instance, the persona is derived out of a user need or interest, and their motivation as well as the business aim.
For instance, a marketing persona wants to know what motivates the user to make a purchase and the goal is the actual acquisition and conversion.
The design persona is focused on user goals, and helps understand the different types of users planning to use a product. The behaviour of the user while they are on the website, and the real-time activities are best understood through these personas. It helps understand how people communicate, how they access and how they use the particular application or website. It helps in deriving insights for the future. The personas account for the different types of users and their behaviour.
The design personas are based on the different UX attributes of the user:
- It will take into account the buying patterns of the user in the present time
- It will be more realistic and in accordance with the target market defined
- It will be defined based on the user objectives
- It will be more contextual with respect to a particular product or service.
- It defines the user’s goals and motivators
A proper user persona helps design solutions that are developed for the target audience. It will become the voice of the user, and helps validate the product or service. It also helps focus on the priorities and the elements to be considered when developing.
Now that you are aware of the need and the benefits associated with the persona, let’s start with how to introduce them to your design inspiration.
Always start with what you know
You always know something about the target market. There are issues that you have been facing, which might resonate with the target audience as well. You might want to include that to your persona.
Brainstorm around the problem areas that you believe the persona faces, the personality they are likely to have, and the indulgences and behaviour patterns that resonate with your product. You will need to work on at least five personas to start with. This will help you further your research and build insights into the target market.
The design personas you build at this stage are hypothesis that you will be testing and finalizing at a later stage. Make sure you don’t reject any persona idea. Once you have finalized five, after a whole lot of arguments, keep the others that have been defined as backup. They will help you in case the first set goes wrong at the hypothesis testing stage.
How would you define a persona?
- A one or two, line description of the persona
- State their problem in brief
- How the problem would be solved with your product or service
- Details that connect the persona with the product
At this point, you will be converting the hypothesis you have established for the persona into reality. Focused group interviews will help you arrive at a conclusion.
You will interview a group of five odd people, and discuss the personas you have developed after brainstorming and understanding the market.
You will need to ask them questions regarding the last time they used a similar product or service. Let’s say you are a online job marketplace, you might want to know what was the main difficulty the user faced when trying to find a job online? What type of websites they tried using? What kind of things they struggled with? How contextual and relevant was the website to them? What were they looking for, and where and how the website they used fell short, in terms of expectations?
A lot of questions need to be prepared, when testing the hypothesis. The questions will end with the problem statement you have defined in the person you derived. You will need to see if the idea of that problem you have defined resonates with them or not.
If at least four of those five people are keen on getting started with the idea, you have laid your hands on the right hypothesis but, if not then you need to change the hypothesis and rework on the persona you have defined.
Finally, you will need to get a demographic prediction done for the user persona you have developed. For this, you will need to ask the group questions that help you establish predictive demographics.
Once you are done with the interviews, it is time to create the final persona for the mobile app user. You should ideally use a combination of the predictive data established through interviews and the actual data established through the performance of the product to define the persona. You can use performance data such as customer database reflecting the values indicated in the persona, the activation and referral rates as well other scores that connect with your product or service.
Use personas in every aspect of work
The personas should become an integral part of your workflow for better processes and quality outputs. If you design for the user you have considered, chances are you will excel with your output.
- Make sure you discuss the personas in your meetings. You will need to identify your app’s success with respect to the persona. This will help you develop what truly matters to the persona you have defined.
- Persona helps prioritize better. When you are introducing new changes or features, the persona will determine which one should be introduced first and which will not make much of a difference to the user.
- During the mobile app design or the website design, it always makes sense to talk about the personas. You will need to design using the user’s needs specified by them during the interviews. This will help in getting useful feedback and incorporating features that upgrade the value of the product or service for the user.
Summing it up
It is important that you keep the persona updated with the latest trends and current design thinking and user needs. You will need to dedicate sometime to build the personas, work on the interviews and validate what you have defined. It is not something you do, while you are taking a break from other stuff. You will need to give full importance and attention to this part of product development, as it will help you define the user for whom you are creating the design.
Coruscate works on user experience design and design delivery while keeping the user’s interests and goals in mind. Our team of designers and developers collaborate to develop a project from the user’s perspective and for the user.
If you have an idea or need to upgrade your project, connect with us. Our team will reach out to you within 24 hours.
A story about ux design