What are personas?

Originally used in user-centered design (UCD), marketing analysis (OgilvyOne) and industrial design, personas are fictional representation of users or customers, including their goals, desires, behaviours, attitudes, skills and limitations among other attributes.


Personas can be based on real, fictional or simulated data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.


What are the benefits of personas?


In general personas can help to better understand the (potential) user and/or buyer:

  • To get new business ideas
  • To design better products
  • To design better user journeys
  • To set-up better processes
  • To create better designs
  • To create better user interfaces
  • To build better marketing campaigns
  • To determine which features to add to a website
  • Etcetera …

In essence personas allows the organization to think more from a customer perspective. They provide powerful guidance for making strategic and planning decisions. Instead of designers thinking "What would my CEO like?" they ask questions like "Is this what persona A wants?".

To summarize the benefits:

  • It forces companies to think from a user perspective.
  • It helps prioritise which features to build.
  • It makes internal discussions easier, more efficient and more objective.

Which elements could the persona include?


A persona is a representation of a user that includes a concise summary of characteristics of the user group. Typical characteristics which are collected are:

  • Goals: What are users trying to achieve and how do they try to achieve these? Are there secundary goals?
  • Frustrations: What pain points, challenges does the user have
    • Which the product or service may solve
    • In the customer journey
  • Behavior: What are the typical behavioral patterns of a user group:
    • Where do they live (urban, suburban, rural), work, sport, relax, shop?
    • What do they read, listen to, which websites do they visit?
    • Which devices, social media do they use?
  • Demographics: gender, age, family background, income, education level, etcetera
  • Lifestlye: preferred brands, vision on live, norms & values
  • Personality: extrovert/introvert,
  • Influencers: What are the relevant influencers of the user group (partner, children, colleagues, review sites, additional features, research companies, etc...)? What are their preferences?
  • Experiences: How internet/computer literature are they? Do they have experience with the product/service to be bought?
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