In this article, we are going to discuss what whose imaginary friends are and learn how to create personas in order to achieve better UX for mobile apps.
Personas are imaginary people who have their age, occupations, gender, interests, goals, frustrations, bio, etc. Even so, they are created based on real data and research around a real world problem specific user could face while using mobile application. Personas help to focus product decisions by adding a layer of real-world consideration to the user research phase. Personas act almost like a real person in your room (let’s not be creepy!) when making essential decisions while creating a product.
(Image Credits goes to http://www.ux-lady.com/diy-user-personas/)
Next, let’s consider the following information and exercises you will need to come up with a best personas for mobile application (or any other product in general):
- A person’s goals on your mobile app / website / service / product
- A person’s motivations for using it
- A person’s frustrations
- Some demographic data
- A short bio about their background
- A person’s technical abilities with mobile apps
- Other apps they may like
- A picture of user persona
- A person’s current occupation
Now let’s a deeper look into how to design and create personas.
Let’s start with a question who are we designing for? That should be the question for every new project you are start working for. If you don’t know who you are designing for, going straight to sketches, wireframes and even high-fidelity app design is a waste of time. Understanding your audience is essential to building great apps and all of the products in general. Obviously, there is no substitute for the real life feedback interviewing real users about your app or any other product, but you can have your users in your design process. Also, sometimes real life users aren’t practical and applicable for your designing process because you don’t have enough money or resources to talk with a potential users for your app. This is where personas steps in. However, again, personas shouldn’t represent all audiences or address all needs of your product but should instead focus on the major needs of the most important user groups.
How to create personas?
Of course, you can create them out of your imagination but personas should replicate real world users with a real world problems for your app.
First, you need to determine what are user goals and motivations of using your app. What exact tasks constitutes successful use? For example Behance app users who are not uploading their works in this platform may use it for searching for inspiration design for their next project, or just surfing just to find great designs. But for the users who actually uploading their design projects and works on Behance they are looking for the app that could share their work with a world, read the comments, and present themselves as a designer in their specific category. To figure out your apps definition of different types of users might be make a list of tasks that users might be using your app. Organize them by difficulty such as Novice (or regular user, who is just searching for different type of information) and Intermediate (a user who might use your app not only just for searching for information, but actually doing different tasks like uploading a photo, article, writing some type of text and so on). You can come up with more different levels of users if you want to and if your app requires to do so. This way you will better recognize your users and will see their goals in your app.
Determining users current pain and frustration
User Experience design is all about creating value; for users and for the business. Valuable solutions are almost always rewarded (such as more app downloads, higher reviews, users will back to your app more often, and all the good stuff that makes mobile app awesome). Our job as a designers is to meet users goals and solve their frustrations with what we’re building. By writing user frustrations you are creating a user model who is seeking his goal and what kind of obstacles he could have in your app. Determining those frustrations you will start designing sketches and wireframes without those pains for the user.
For example for the Behance app regular user frustrations could be that he or she hasn’t a lot of time searching for design inspiration on the google and want to have one source of resources, so you could determine that your app needs different kind of categories, powerful search functionality, features and newest design pages where you will present those works for the user. For the designer, who wants to upload and share his work with the world you see a concrete frustration of sharing functionality in your app.
You also might want to include user’s ability to work with technologies. For example, does your user feel comfortable with smartphones? If no you need to adjust your design needs to those people who has trouble using their phones and what kind of changes you may want to make in your app.
Now it’s your imagination time. This where you might want to add some personality to your persona. Of course it’s optional for you to come up with your fictional character story from top of your head, because you could also have some references from your life, what you have met in the past, your friends, family, what you saw on tv and so on. Adding short bio, sex, location, what other apps he or she likes on the daily basis. This information will help you determine further frustrations, goals and also how your potential user might use your app in different type of life situations.
If your potential user is very active, he or she likes to travel a lot, chat with friends and colleagues, is always on-the-go well then your app might have featured functionality or categories that could help your user to search information as quickly as possible. If we are talking about app like Behance when you might also want to have new and popular categories and pages where he will search for designs and maybe even upload then and share with the world.
Let’s get our hands dirty
It was the end for the article. But, I want that you don’t just read it and login to your Facebook account and like that cute little kitty photo. No. Grab a piece of paper, open up Pain or any other graphic editor and create a persona for your own product idea (if you have one, of course). Read again this article and make sure you check all the critical points, questions and other information in order to create best Persona. Let’s just be creative!