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The Role of Personas in Web Development

The use of personas in software development and user experience design has been around for quite a while, but in recent years has been spreading to a variety of other fields such as marketing, design and communication. Even with this spread, many organizations have either never used this approach or haven’t spent the time to develop personas. In this post I’ll discuss how personas can be used to guide the web development process.

Before we do that, let’s start with some basics:

What is a Persona?

A persona in user-centered design is a fictional representation of your target customer. It represents the needs, interests and goals of someone who uses your product or service…or someone who isn’t that you want to convert into a customer. You may have a single persona you can focus on, or you may have several. Personas are usually given a name.

Where do I Start?

Begin by thinking of your target consumer. Talk to current customers and keep track of their responses. It can help to ask customers to complete a survey so you have accurate information to base the profile on. Give the persona a title that is specific enough to identify their needs – it can either be a name or a role. An image can help to identify the persona and reflect their role. With these basics place, begin to add details to the persona that describe who they are:

  • Goals
  • Needs
  • Challenges
  • Motivations
  • Demographic information

If this seems daunting, there are tools available to guide you through this process. One tool that we have used at Creative Arcade is the “Make My Persona” tool provided by HubSpot. By using this tool you can have a persona built within a matter of minutes.

Putting Personas to Work

Now that you’ve created a persona, you need to put it to work. We use it in many areas of our work at Creative Arcade. From our inbound marketing work, brand identity and campaigns to web development. It becomes a benchmark to compare our work and client goals to ensuring that messaging is on point.

Let us know if you need some help identifying personas that will work for you.