A persona is a fictitious character of who your organization serves. Understanding your persona can help your team know how to help your users. You might have recently created your first persona, or maybe your team has been looking at the same persona for years. Either way, let’s put that persona to work for you.
Wait, you don’t have a persona?
If you don't have a persona, we can help with that. We built an app where you can download and create a persona in 6-mins.
Four ways to use your persona
A highly used persona helps you focus on bringing the best value to the right customers. Here are four ways to put your persona to work.
1. Put your persona out in the open.
Get the persona out of the digital space and into your work area. Print your persona out to post on a wall or whiteboard, or have it on your desk.
This allows you to point at the persona and discuss how your current work impacts this person.
Physical personas lead us to talk about users more often.
2. Include personas in solution conversations
When I'm in a store with my kids, I'll ask them to remember people's names. I want them to use the person's name in questions or when ordering food. This is a real person working here that we should connect with. Something like, "Abby, may I have a cheeseburger with cheese only?" or, "Austin, where is the measuring tape?"
In the same way, use your persona's name during your brainstorming and road-mapping sessions or any meetings. This makes a connection between your persona and your team's work. You're not just adding a button to a design, but you're giving Connor-the-Candidate a way to get feedback from their recruiter.
Personas drive up empathy when your team connects the impact to a real person.
3. Infuse your persona in the team's todos (user stories)
While planning a project and defining the scope, we create user stories to list must-have features. Each feature is a sentence that focuses on a user, what they're trying to do, and why that action is essential.
User story examples
- As Conner, I want to verify my identity to secure the application before I trust it with my money.
- As Conner, I want to create a story by name to gather findings under one collection to study further and share later.
By creating these user stories, we found that the team was centered around the user for every task they worked on. The work has a purpose when all tasks point back to what was integral for the end user.
The trick is that all tasks should point to the persona who benefits from the work.
4. Get behind the eyes of your persona
Recently, a cyber security startup hired us to design their app. This client had four personas they expected to use the app; Developers, CISOs, AppSecs, and DevOps. We asked each person to pick a persona. We then asked each team member to screen-record themselves, pretending to use their app for the first time as that persona. After testing from their persona’s perspective, everyone recognized parts of the software that the personas would appreciate or might need to be added or clarified.
The big takeaway was that we learned which persona was essential for more customer interviews.
It all comes down to this
Personas are a powerful tool to narrow a team's focus for a significant impact.
"All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year." - Simon Sinek
The WHY is important. Personas point teams to the WHY of their company. Teams reach their goals when solving real pain for real people.
Start using the personas you have. Keep them front of mind. The best way to get started is to bring your personas into your work and daily conversations.
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