Personas are archetypes of users, customers or prospects whose beliefs and behavior patterns are catalogued, summarized and shared across an organization. Personas are most commonly utilized for product and website design, content marketing, customer service and selling. Teams use “sets” of personas to determine whether their designs or messaging meet their target audiences’ needs. Focusing on the end user’s needs prevents the most insidious, common, and costly of design mistakes, that of “grounding,” the tendency to create “self-referential” designs or messages.
Not all organizations or thought leaders, however, champion personas. The most frequently voiced criticism is that “personas are not actionable.” Even when based on solid primary research, the argument goes, personas are still only descriptive and therefore passive.
Usability Sciences’ persona development methodology addresses and eliminates that objection. We do so by executing our methodology against a proven mental model. We then train our customer teams to apply the mental model in a predictive manner. This creates “actionable” personas that can be used to predict with accuracy and certitude how any potential user or customer would respond to any given stimulus – a product feature, website function, promotional offer or call to action. Design or marketing decisions arrive much faster and are much less likely to need downstream revision than consensus arrived at without a set of personas.
As our customers tell us, trying to anticipate how a user will respond to a design idea without using predictive personas is little better than guessing.
Usability Sciences believes in a multiphase research approach to developing personas, and every phase of that research and construction is based on the mental model.
After learning your objectives, Usability Sciences will create a customized research solution incorporating the following research activities to ensure a high quality, cost-effective outcome.
The mental model provides a coherence and consistency to the personas that reveals the cause-and-effect mechanism at work in their decision-making processes. The resulting personas are portraits of different types of users or customers that help team members share a common vision of the target audience, saving time in decision-making and pre-empting risky guesswork. Your team will have confidence in your product or website’s design, your content marketing strategy, your call center response strategies, or your sales approaches.
Usability Sciences’ training further differentiates the value of our personas. We take a team (web design/customer service/content strategy) through a two-day workshop in which they learn predictive techniques. The workshop is a hands-on, direct application of the persona materials and the behavioral principles on which they are built. The output is a set of design decisions tested against the needs, attitudes, and behaviors of each persona.
Contact us today to better incorporate your target audience’s needs into your website.
Also, let our team of user experience professionals take you through persona development insights: