Every product has its user. Say it is a Shoe Polish, Fry Pan, Wall Clock, Lip Stick, etc., those are all made for a specific user in Mind for a particular purpose.
Some of them are used for a wide variety of users, whereas most are made for a particular user.
For Example, a TV is viewed by a wide range of audiences were as a walking aid is used only by older people who need support.
In most cases, the buyer of the product is different from the user. For Example, a feeding bottle is bought by the mother and used by her baby. The user needs are different from customer needs. We need to understand the difference between that.
All these principles applies for a digital product too. All digital products are created by having a specific user in mind. They have a particular purpose and task to accomplish. Some are used by a specific group of users, whereas a wide range uses most. And not to forget, “Always the customers are not necessary to be the user”.
One of the crucial steps of defining the product experience is identifying its users and their needs. A persona is an outcome of the exercise, which is created based on our findings. It gives a fair glimpse of the user to anyone who is working on the project. A typical persona would look like the below image,
with the following sections
- User Details (Don’t use real names)
Yes. You are Right! This can’t be done with pure imagination. You need to know the facts and more details about your user. For that, you have to meet a couple of users and conduct a user interview.
I know, I’m hitting the bell now. Most of you don’t have the feasibility to do that. Conducting user interviews is a kind of luxury for many and not part of their regular role. In such a case, make a simple persona with the details you know, should be enough. An effort to make a person is an effort to understand your user, which improves your design a lot better then not having one.
By knowing your user better, you can identify their essential tasks and the scenario they perform more precisely.
As I mentioned earlier, an accurate persona can be made only after user research. Such a person is much more reliable and can be shared with a broad audience.
What to ask my user?
Let say you have the approval to conduct a user interview, and you have a list of users to meet. Now the bigger question is what to ask them? You have a work scope; after the interview, you are responsible for creating a visual artifact that communicates about your user clearly to anyone.
Here is the list of questions you can ask, which will help you the exact information you need.
- How old are you?
- Tell us about your family life.
- What is your educational background?
- What do you like to do in your free time? etc
- What specialized skills or tools are required in your position?
- What is your job title?
- What are your responsibilities?
- What is a typical workday like for you?
- What is your professional background?
- How do you measure success in your position?
- To whom do you report? Who reports to you?
- What frustrates you the most about your job?
Goals at work
- What do you enjoy most?
- What are the goals you’re trying to achieve?
- Why are these goals important?
- What steps are you taking to achieve these goals?
- What are the biggest challenges that prevent you from achieving these goals?
- What have you done in the past to conquer these challenges? Did it work?
- If it didn’t, what would you do differently next time?
A persona helps to ground the discussion in the user’s context and make everyone put themselves in the user’s shoes and think. This would allow you to streamline the conversation and many good ideas to try. Ultimately it would fasten the whole process and quality of the outcome.
It is a living document, which we would be updating where ever we found something new.