One of the best ways to better solve someone else’s problems is to understand them clearly, understand their lives. And there is no better way to do so that try to be them, be in their shoes and see the world from their perspective. Obviously, we can never actually be in someone else’s skin, but we can do a pretty good job trying to gather as much information about them as possible to have a better, more insightful picture.
Personas are a great tool to do exactly that! Personas are reliable and realistic representations of your key audience, the person you’re trying to help. It doesn’t matter if this is your friend, a company that hired you to fix their processes, ar a user of an application that a company is trying to reinvent… Whoever the main “object” is – personas will give you the opportunity to imagine them in details. Combined with the empathy map, they form a great knowledge wiki about the users!
It’s crucial to be as precise and detailed as possible, ask lots of questions, note down all the information, follow up their stories and read between the lines. Personas are only as effective as the time and research put into gathering the information. To be effective, personas need to:
- Be a real representation of your audience (understand correctly whose problem you’re solving or who is the target of the solution).
- Express the major needs and expectations of the above-mentioned group.
- Provide a clear view of all necessary details, including stories, pain points, hopes, and expectations.
- Describe real people with real problems, stories, and plans.
Having this encyclopedia of info about your audience is essential in steering the ideation in the right direction.
Using/creating personas is simple like 1-2-3. Grab a template and fill it with the information needed/mentioned. It really is that self-explanatory! Put as much info as possible, be as details as possible, and save it for reference! Just remember one rule: do it from the perspective of your user, not yours! Always think as your user would think, trying to imagine it via their life.
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Personas. It was a bit hard for 16-year-olds to imagine being someone else. They know empathy but can't exercise it. We'll keep trying! — #northwestregionalcollege #designthinking #nwrc #workshop #empathy #derry #londonderry #norniron #northernireland #atlanticsociallab #interregatlanticarea #interreg #enterprisenorthwest #londonderry #personas
- Tool goal: create a real representation of the user/target group
- No of participants: 1 facilitator; groups no bigger than 5-6 people per one persona
- Time needed: max. 1h, or more if more research is needed
- Supplies needed: magazine cutouts, persona template, glue/scotch tape, pens
- Distribute the supplies, one set per group.
- Each group discusses (and also you should have this info from previous research) what the best representation of their user/target group is: age, background, gender. Put this info on the template.
- Each group agrees to choose the cutout that best represents their chosen persona. Stick the picture to the template.
- Give the groups time to discuss the persona and fill out all the information from the template, from the perspective on this person. They should write it in their grammar case (I like, instead of he/she likes).
As a result…
- You have an apparition of what is the user/target group, even multiple ones.
- Make sure to use the persona to plan any experiences for the user/target group – match it with their dreams, avoid their pain points, etc.