In a nutshell, a set of personas are around 3-5 realistic representations of the key audiences of a site, which have been based on qualitative and quantitative user research and web analytics. They should express each group’s expectation of the site and help to consolidate, uncover and define the direction of a site by highlighting the specific and global needs of each group.

Capturing your key audiences

Personas are one of the best practice methods of the User-Centered design (UCD) process. UCD ensures that a system is easy to use, fits with user expectations and meets business goals. Most importantly UCD investment reduces the cost associated to making common product development mistakes of badly defined user requirements, poor communication amongst customers, developers and users, and stakeholder politics.

Separate the ‘you’ from your users

Personas play an important part in helping to reduce the risks mentioned by recognising that business results depend on making users happy. They reduce the risk associated to stakeholder politics by cementing key requirements based on findings and knowledge rather than opinion. They help to separate the ‘you’ from your users and make the finding of user research understandable and actionable.

Personas continually serve as good reference when making decisions about functionality and future developments as the site matures. They are also key in analysing the behaviour assigned to them in the analytics of the site. And strategically they help to shape the implicit and explicit personalisation of the content fed through to your users, as well as formulating the goals that each persona group are nudged towards on their journey through the site.

Personas
“Personas are key in analysing the behaviour assigned to them in the analytics of the site, which strategically helps to shape the implicit and explicit personalisation of the content.”