Knowing your target audienceBuilding valuable user personas is no easy task. Designers and developers must first understand the fundamental process and know what to look for as they create customer persona dossiers.

Follow these 4 unbreakable rules to maximize the power of your persona.

  1. Understand your audience

In order to build an accurate persona, you must first define your audience on a fundamental level. This is a broad first step, but an important one. Begin simply. Will your design be more widely used by a particular age group, gender, financial class, education level? Gather all pertinent demographic information available for your target audience and begin “painting pictures” of intended users. Once you have crafted a clear idea of who your audience is you’ll be better able to understand what they want and need from your design.

  1. Ask a lot of questions.

Now that your audience is defined, it’s time to hear from them.

Conduct surveys. Arrange one-on-one interviews with various segments of your audience. Listen carefully to what people have to say. The common threads woven throughout audience responses will help you define effective personas and eventually guide the overall direction of your design.

  1. Connect the dots.

Now that you’ve gathered demographic information and interview data it’s time to cross-check your findings and deduce all that you can about your audience. Connect the dots between data sets and identify specific traits that allow you to segment users into the unique, comprehensive subsets that will form your personas. And remember, the more research you have at your disposal, the more accurate your personas are bound to be.

  1. Monitor and communicate to ensure personas remain relevant over time.

Personas are moving targets. Preferences change, trends come and go, and objectives vary over time. Personas should be revisited and adapted to match the evolving needs and desires of end users. Encourage an ongoing dialogue with users to help you formulate updates to personas (and to your designs) down the road.

Most importantly, no matter what stage your design is in, never be afraid to make changes that better identify and target that audience. In the end, both stakeholders and users will appreciate it! It is always far simpler and less costly to revise a persona than to change a product.

To learn more about what it takes to build a great UI, contact an expert at Altia today.