Persona — Understanding the User’s Needs
Say you want to develop a second-hand branded clothes selling website. So, you want to design your user interface to be suitable for your target user. You targetted at current upper-range Generation Z (18–24 years old). While focusing on the younger-age people, you want to accomodate the older users to be able to buy in your website. In this case, Persona is all you need.
Persona? What’s that?
Persona is a representation of your various wide user groups. You need to create some research before you conclude how your persona is. When creating a persona, you need to make sure you know: why they use your product, what’s their expectations, what factors will satisfy/stress them, their backgrounds, and many more. These persona(s) may guide you to design your product’s user interface.
Why is Persona needed?
Because you are not the user of the product. You need to know what the user needs in your app, while you create your product to fulfill their needs. What will happen if you do not know what your future product users need? You create your product based on nothing, other than your personal preference.
Also the users of your product might just not be a human. Your product might have hundreds, thousands of users. So, you need to find the right persona that can represent these many users.
Okay, how do you create Persona?
Before, I stated that you need to “create some research before you conclude how your persona is”. So, the first thing that you need to do is do some research. You might need to collect some data required. You can gather the data from various sources, such as user interviews, surveys, see your potential enemy and try to find what can you improve so the users prefers your product rather your enemy’s.
Then, you need to build hypoteses based on the previous data, create a scratch of what you think is the right representation of your future users. Then, you can try to verify your hypoteses. How? One way to do this is to ask to the users and then check whether your hypoteses is right or not. By doing this, you might get insights of the user’s satisfaction factors/stressors.
Here, you might already know how many group or users that you need. You can try to write what you already know, and if you found one group is too diverses? You can split them into many more personas, make sure you do this right. When you finished this step, you can progress further by thinking their details.
Some things that you need to add to the persona is their background story, goals, frustations, and motivations. After you’re done doing this, your persona might look like a real person. Then, you can try to design a scenario for each of the persona when they use to product. You may try to re-validate your previous hypoteses and try to adjust your persona’s details.
These are some steps necessary that you can follow if you want to design a Persona for your product.
Relation of Stakeholders and Persona
So you get a stakeholder to fund your project for the previously mentioned selling websites. You may use Persona as a way to communicate to all of the stakeholders to the vision of the project and how your project will satisfy and meet the needs of the users. Maybe your stakeholders have extra information because they have more experience in creating a selling website than you, so they know what is needed to be valued more than your enemy.
Here’s some of my group’s Software Engineering Project’s persona:
(Sorry if you don’t understand Indonesian, this article is written to satisfy the course’s works)
Our project is “Pantau Peradilanmu”, a website to oversee the running of a court of law. The initial goal for the project is to be used by the students of FHUI for the course “Praktik Hukum Pidana”, hence why the roles in personas of our project is Student, Teaching Assistant, and Lecturer at FHUI.
So to know about how your product can satisfy your users, personas are the method to go for identifying user needs. You should use real data to determine the most suitable persona for your product.
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