What are Personas?
Personas describe a character created by an author or a personality that a person gives off in public. This is the general term definition; however, user experience personas are a little different. For UX, a persona is a reliable and realistic representation of your audience, often used as a reference. A persona appears like a specific individual but is not based on a real person; it is based on qualitative and quantitative user research. A persona aims to allow a designer to focus on a tangible example to create the website for. Personas dive deeper into the user’s wants, needs, intentions behind actions and make “you” on paper.
Designers can compare these personas to one another, and it gives them a deeper understanding of underlying trends in their target market and shows them more of what the user is looking for. It shows the design problems that the demographics have and how they want them to be solved. The term demographics means the statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it. This includes; age, race, ethnicity, gender, education, employment, and more.
What Does A Persona Look Like?
A persona is usually presented as a one-page document dictated by the findings uncovered during user research. There are many different kinds of layouts; there is no one template that needs to be followed. The purpose of the document is to communicate and summarize research trends and patterns to others. Beginners quickly focus on making a good persona document, which causes them to lose sight of understanding the user.
Below is an example of a general persona made about me:
What Is In A Persona?
- Profile Picture: The profile picture is one of the most engaging aspects of the persona. The image needs to capture the person’s personality, try to avoid using something generic and unoriginal.
- Name: The persona needs a real name, it makes the persona more personable and relatable. Don’t use celebrity names or nicknames because they can elicit emotions that aren’t associated with the persona.
- Quotes: These are taken from interviews and research conducted and should be a maximum of 30 words. This gives insight to the persona’s personality.
- Demographics: Should list facts about the persona that relates to your product or service.
- Goals: This section is used to explain what the user wants to achieve when using your product or service.
- Journey: Describes what the user is doing in order to achieve their goal.
- Motivation vs Ability: These are two key factors that help designers discover how they can get users to do a specific thing.
- Motivating Factor: What gets them to use their product or service.
- Inhibiting Factor: What prevents them from using your product or service.
- Possible Triggers: What causes them to use your product or service.
- Influencers: People in the user’s life that has an impact on their decisions.
- Environment: Different situations where your user finds themselves using your product or service.
- Related Personas: Other personas that may relate to the one you created.
- Persona Matrix: A visual representation of how the personas relate to one another.
Here is a document to a persona worksheet for a more visual representation:
In the beginning, makeup was primarily targeted to women between the ages of 16 and 45. It was only a few products, lipstick, eyeshadow, and foundation. As the makeup industry started to expand, many things changed. The target market became women of all ages. They added more products. Now, finally, the makeup industry has developed enough to include men of all ages into the targeted market. Social media is one of the biggest influencers for the cosmetics industry. Users can easily follow trends and stay up to date, while cosmetic brands can market their products. 62% of all beauty shoppers research the products online before buying them. They turn to online reviews and seek beauty inspiration or recent trends on the internet.
E.l.f. Cosmetics Personas
In a previous project I uncovered how well or poorly E.l.f Cosmetics and Colourpop used user experience and user interface elements. This time I chose E.l.f Cosmetics and I will be investigating two different types of users that use the site. This will be achieved by created two personas, one for each user. These personas will show designers what kinds of different users that come to their site. This will help designers create a user experience and user interface that satisfies a variety of customers.
The first persona created was based off of myself. Makeup is my hobby and I’ve been doing my own makeup for almost seven years now. It was quite difficult to create a persona about myself, because it’s hard to take a step back and look at my habits or preferences from an outside perspective. The second persona was a hypothetical persona I created. Check them both out below.
All designers need to start somewhere, and personas are that starting line. It is in our nature to be biased and see people one way. Designers need to learn how to collect other perspectives and make them all work together on one website. Personas help designers do that; they keep designers in check and give the users a voice.