Personas (not Persona 5)
As a computer science student, one of my tasks is to create applications or websites for other people. During the process, I sometimes create the application according to my liking. But this is a mistake that should be avoided if your application is to be used by other people. Which is to design an app without thinking about the target users’ preferences.
During the design process of your app, it is important to determine just what type of people will be your users. So that the app you created is according to your users’ needs and wants. A way to do this, is to use “personas”.
“What is a persona?” you may ask. “Isn’t that a name of a game franchise?”
A persona is a fictional character created by the design team after research about the target user. Let’s say you have thousands of users or projected users and want to classify them. A persona is a way of categorizing them and making sure the app is made for them. A persona is usually made after researching potential users.
Advantage of using Personas
- Synchronizes the team view about the users.
With personas, the team’s perspective about the user base will be more consistent and conformed.
- Helps identify problems that need to be solved by the software being made.
With personas it is much more easier to identify each of the potential user’s problems needs and wants.
- Serves as a guideline for development.
Personas can also help as a guideline when developing the design of a product.
Types of Personas
What kind of personas are there that can be used? Well here are a few to get started:
- Goal-directed Personas
This focuses on the personas goal when using a product. It usually answers the question “What will my user’s do with my app?”.
- Role-based Personas
This persona focuses on the user’s role within an organization. It is also goal based but seen from a role perspective. Ex: The secretary will need to see all proposals going out of an app but a staff member won’t need to.
- Engaging Personas
This is can be a mix of role-based and goal-directed personas. It is a well rounded one. The goal of this persona is to incorporate the psychology of a user, their emotions and background.
- Fictional Personas
This persona is usually made based on the assumption of the development team.
Personal Experience with Personas
On my 6th semester group project, me and my team also use personas to help design our app. We are making a monitoring management information system for a government institution. The type of persona we used is a role-based persona because the users of the app can be divided to different roles. So far it has helped us align our views about our users, which helped very much during the development process.
In conclusion, personas are a useful instrument when designing an app. It can help the team map out user’s wants and needs. It can also help the next step of designing the UI/UX of the app. There are a few types personas that can be used according to the apps purpose.
Further reading: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/personas-why-and-how-you-should-use-them