Understanding Customer Needs with Personas | Pontus Wärnestål | Skillshare

Understanding Customer Needs with Personas

Pontus Wärnestål, Service Designer

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10 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction to Personas

    • 2. What are personas and why do we need them?

    • 3. Goals and Behaviors

    • 4. Project: The Persona Creation Process

    • 5. Step: Data collection

    • 6. Step: Behavioral and demographic variables

    • 7. Step: Identify Goals

    • 8. Step: Prioritize and flesh out the details

    • 9. Step: Creating the Persona Deliverable

    • 10. Conclusions and Next Steps


About This Class

Do you want to create service experiences that really resonates with your customers – and connect their drivers and motivations to your service offering so that you can design better products and services? This class will teach you how to get started with personas – a tool that allow you to model authentic customers into actionable representations of your target audience. Persona work takes you deeper than most other "target group profiles" do, and lets you find out what your customers need, desire, and aspire to.

At the end of the project, you will have a thorough understanding of the Persona concept, and have experienced the process of creating a complete persona from scratch in the class project.


1. Introduction to Personas: Hi, I'm ponders every day. We use a lot of digital services on your phone, your computer when you pay for your coffee when you book tickets. And so what? And sometimes those services are so well designed that they just seem to work and you hardly notice them. Which is a good thing because it allows you to focus on what you want to achieve rather than on the actual system that's supposed to serve you. But sometimes, and perhaps more often than not, digital systems are very hard to use. They don't allow us to do the things the way we would like and frankly increase our stress levels, which can affect our health. So business managers, product owners, designers and developers are all striving to build better products. Yet they often failed and end up launching services with bad usability and bad user experience. The premise for this course is that if we somehow can design digital services that people love and can allow them to achieve their goals without any friction, they will be happier and more effective, and if this can be done in a cost effective manner, it will mean a positive business outcome for your product. But creating digital services is not only about reducing friction and increasing usability in today's landscape, digital services can suddenly add new kinds of value in almost every aspect of society. Now this course will explore such issues. Um, and we do this by focusing on a tool specifically designed to help you develop and model a deeper connection with your users. The persona a persona is a model of your target users that lets you understand and communicate about how your years it behave, how they feel and how they think when they're trying to achieve some sort of go using your product or service. Personas are not really people, but they feel really and our authentic, since they're based on research and analysis of riel people behavior. The persona allows you to design for specific users that have specific needs and let you come up with design solutions that are effective rather than adult average that end up pleasing no one. A one size fits all approach to content, scope and distribution won't actually fit anyone, and in this course we will take a deeper look at personas. You will learn how you can construct a persona based on research. How you can use the persona, your design work and get practical experience in creating a persona from scratch in the class project. You don't need any prior professional experience of the user experience design where your ex design to take this class. But it probably helps if you understand the basics of digital part of design. From a creative perspective, you won't need any programming skills for this course. Okay, let's get started. 2. What are personas and why do we need them?: So what is a persona and why do we need one? Persona is a rich, qualitative description of a user or customer. It is rendered like a single person but is in fact an aggregate off a very specific target group. This is to say, you won't find a specific person with this particular name looking like this. For example, um, however, you will find several real people exhibiting these motivations, goals, needs and behavior patters. It is actually a bad idea to use a real person like a user, you know, or a colleague that is part of the team. They're very reason you create a persona is so that you can abstract away it really irrelevant traits but still make it a personal and empathic connection to you. Tory group persona, therefore, helps you avoid the elastic user fallacy. It's so easy to think that you're doing your users a favor but adding functionality that you come up with and say, But what if some users want to do this? Or wouldn't it be cool if we added this for our users etcetera shirt? It might be, but you would need to validate those ideas somehow. Otherwise, you risk feature creep and bloated software with tons of functionality that is never used or worse, gets in the way off the core functionality that your users actually need. Unauthentic invalidated persona is therefore a model that allows you to say no to unnecessary ideas. It focuses the design effort and allows you to react to new feature requests. Ideas like like this? Well, that could be useful. But would our persona sarah really benefit from this? If your persona is adequately modelled, the response should be clear. If the future fits the scenario and the narratives of Sarah in this case, it might be worth considering adding the feature to the service. If the benefit is not clear to your persona, Serra, you would need to put that idea on hold until you have either done well research or built a prototype to test the usefulness creating. Either way, you have a strategically taken. Either way, you have strategically taking a decision that focuses your design effort instead of just mindlessly adding unveil UNDATED functionality to your product. Since the persona is rendered like a real person, it facilitates empathic connection to your users. Therefore, the persona needs to feel like a person and not a demographic statistic. So to summarize the strength of the persona in the design process, art aid in design, what your service should do and how it should behave. Satisfying the personas goals and needs direct the design effort. Communication tool. The personas are what's known as boundary objects, which allows different roles and skill sets to discuss on common ground. It lets a designer and programmer talk on the on common ground about the needs of the users , for example. So they helped build consensus, which is critical in a complex design process so that we don't lose track off what we're actually building together in the team testbed. So the design decisions can be measured almost like if you were to test the design on the real users do not substitute personas for real testing, though you need both. But when no users are available, the persona might be of help. The first upcoming videos in this class will go through how to work with the basic persona development process. So let's move on to learn about the forces that drives your users goes and behaviors 3. Goals and Behaviors: The central aspect of a persona revolves around goals. Goes our drivers for behavior and behavior or actions buildup gold fulfilment, which helps providing a great user experience. So according to Coopers persona billing process, there are three kinds of goals, and they correspond to Norman's layers of cognitive processing. So we have visible cognitive processing, which corresponds to what Coopers called experience goals. We have behavioral cognitive processing, which corresponds to end goals. We have reflective cognitive processing operating on the long term, which corresponds to life goals. Examples of experience goals include things like Have fun, feel focused, feel creative, remained relaxed in control. So experience goals are what the persona wants to feel. Examples of end goals include and clear my to do's before it's time to pick up the kids. Find a new TV series that I will enjoy watching well. We get the best price for a product. End Goals are what the persona wants to do, and then we have life goals, such as be perceived as generous or be an expert within my subject field or few no regrets , life goals or who the persona wants to be. And it's often good to limit the number of goals so that we can focus our design efforts on what's most important. And I've found that life goals sometimes can be left out entirely. We're just had one that will be the North start of the Arizona's. Other goals and goals are probably the most important ones, and I found that 3 to 5 and goals should cover the essentials of your persona and about the same or slightly fewer number of experience goals. But hey, wait a minute, you might say, In my last project, we had 250 requirements in our design specification. How does that compare to 3 to 5 end goals? Sure, goals are not the same as functional requirements, goals or more high level and provide guidance when you decide to formalize your functional requirements. What the end and experience goals allow you to do is to really make sure that the requirements specification is focused and Onley list the requirement that actually provide value for your user group to achieve those goals. So by now it should be clear that personas cannot be based on demographic variables only, or stereotypes in order to really get to the authentic and goals and experience goals you need to carry out qualitative research. Guesswork has no place in this process, and traditional market research is not enough. The persona process starts with deep interviews, contextual observation and qualitative analysis. A ghost persona or armchair persona that is to say, or persona created with no end user connectedness is, frankly, just a waste of time. So let's get going with the persona design process. 4. Project: The Persona Creation Process: There are several ways to create personas. There are papers and books covering the steps, but basically the process is roughly thought. Something like this. First, you recruit users and collect data. Second, you identify behaviors and some other variables from this data. Then you capture patterns and define goals. Then you're prioritized and flesh out the details. And by having this, you can create the presentation materials. And how you perform these steps can vary. For most professional business settings. It is sufficient to mix contextual observation with interviews in the data collection step for other kinds of situations and target groups such as Children or other special groups, We need to use other methods such as Comey, boarding, storytelling and other interventions. Each of these steps requires skills that need to be honed and developed, and that takes practice. Therefore, I strongly recommend you follow this course along with your class project. The objective for the class project is to develop a persona from scratch to a finish persona undeliverable. You can set your ambition as lower high as you want, where see fit. You can limit yourself to interview just one or two friends for a made up service. Or you can go full on and recruit dozens of users for a real product or service that you're currently working on in the project area. There is a persona template that you can use or modify will come up with your own format. This is entirely up to you, so let's get going and start with the data collection process. 5. Step: Data collection: most products have different ropes. For example, a professional messaging system would have roles like sender, an external recipient of messages, system administrator and perhaps purchase decision maker, an end consumer product. I just had one roll the buyer. But often that role is dependent on other roles, such as Buying a car would involve a complete family where the decision power is more or less distributed. Most websites have several kinds of target groups. Press job seeker, customer investor at several. And by listing the rules, you should try to recruit representative users from each of those groups. Then you carry out your data collection. The most common method for quickly gaining insights is deep interviewing, preferably. You do this with just one person at a time, because focus group interviews or group interviews tend to inhibit some people and even lead to groupthink, which will diminish the number of qualitative insights you get. In my experience, about 8 to 10 respondents are usually a good balance between resource and time spending and gain for most projects. It's impossible to know beforehand how men respondents are required, since you're looking for what is known as saturation. In qualitative analysis, That means that when you don't hear any more new things in your interview from your responded respondents, your material has reached a high level of saturation. And then you might say, OK, now I know enough, it's time to move on. And this is very different from quantitative research where we know beforehand how men responses you need in order to arrive at a statistical significant truth. In quantitative analysis, we don't necessarily aim for truth. In that sense, we are interested in getting insight and a deep understanding about what is driving human behavior. Therefore, I expect to tweak my interview questions along the way so that I am probably not asking the same questions in interview Number 10 that I did an interview Number one. So recruit your respondents formulate a thematic interview guide where you sketch out some headlines and themes about what you want to know about and then set aside 45 to 60 minutes with each respondent. Try to create a talkative and comfortable environment. You want this to be a dialogue and conversation, not an interrogation. Ask for anecdotes. Do not make them generalize for you. For example, Tell me about the last time you made a sale. Instead of asking, How do you usually make sales? The first kind of question will be answered with a lot of interesting details or special cases, since every sale is probably unique, whereas the second question would probably be some sort of generalized vanilla version off what a Sam might be like for that person, and that is of limited use for you. There are a lot of skill that goes into being a good interviewer. The key thing is that you look at the interview as a conversation and not a questionnaire. You want deep understanding. So be an active listener, look for anecdotes and not generalizations and keep practicing. There are many books and online seminars and videos about interviewing techniques that I suggest you might spend some time on. After you've done your interviews, you should have recordings and notes. It's time to make sense out of this material now, so we're starting with behavioral variables 6. Step: Behavioral and demographic variables: behavioral variables differ from project to project. This has to do with the kinds of tasks people in your domain perform, what professional level they might be on at several. The behaviors you observed in the medical profession differ from end consumer entertainment , such as movies sent music, for example. Your goal is to identify these kinds of behaviors and make sense of them in your data collection. You have a lot of information about this. So in this step we try to make sense and clarified that typical behavior variables that are likely to occur in your projects are motivations and goals. That is to say, Why is the years are interested in using your product? And what does he or she want to accomplish? List of tasks or activities that people perform? The frequency and duration of those tasks, the attitudes towards thes tasks and towards the product technology or domain skill, The education level and ability to learn can be included. Here's, well, mental models. By this, I mean how people think about things meta force they seem to use, such as how different people organize their bookshelves for music collection by Aurthur name like in a library or by genre, or even by the color of the cover, etcetera. This step takes experience and skill, so I know it can seem a little abstract and hard. But practice makes perfect. And just remember that the reason for doing this step is to get authentic persona descriptions. This is key to avoid stereotypical personas and instead arriving archetypes that are very close to your real users. It also makes sense to include some demographic variables. I've previously said that personas are mainly behavioral, but the demographics can be of help to as long as they don't stand in the way off. Behavioral variables. Examples of demographic variables are age, marital status, income bracket, housing, etcetera. Once you have identified these variables, you map your respondents on scales like this. Now this is not an exact science. This is based on your qualitative analysis as a researcher, and the exact position of these marks on these scales is less important than the relation between the different respondents. So this visualization allows you to identify clusters, and these clusters are candidates for behavior pattern descriptions that your presumable contain. So in this example, we can see that there might be two primary personas, since we seem to have two distinct panners, one self reliant pattern that seemed reluctant to seek house care and exhibit lower adherence and one pattern that believes in cure rather than prevention, for example, So what you should have at this stage is a list of behaviors and attitudes where you have mapped your interview. Respondents remember that you might have more than one persona candidate at this stage, like in the example I just talked about in this case, I suggest that you just choose one of them for your project. In this course, in a real situation, you would, of course, developed these two or more primary personas. 7. Step: Identify Goals: for each significant pattern that you identify, you go back to your data and describe that pattern as a brief bullet point. Try to only use observed characteristics. If you lack significant details, you have two options. One. Make complementing research that is to say, Go out and observing into you again regarding that particular lack in the data, or rely on your aggregate understanding off the domain and your users and fill out this plan for yourself. This second version is obviously more risky than Option one, but sometimes resource is time and availability just isn't there. So you might have to settle for Option two based on the patterns you are ready to to define the goals. Remember, these are the most critical aspect in a persona, so make sure to spend some time on this in less than three of this course. We talked about goals in general, so it might be worthwhile to rewatch that class if you want to. A brief recap of the kinds of goals we're dealing with is experience goals such as have fun , fuel focused, feel creative and golts such as clear might produce before it's time to pick up the kids find a new TV serious that I will enjoy watching more, get the price, best price for a product or life goals, be perceived as generals. Or be an expert within my subject field or feel no regrets. So what you should have A. This stage is 3 to 5, clearly defined and goals and 1 to 2 experience goals. And I would suggest maybe leave the life goals for this little It's more project, but again, you might have several different persona candidates. But for the purpose of this course project, you might want to just select one on work on that. So now it's time to move on to fleshing out the details. 8. Step: Prioritize and flesh out the details: So by now you have a prioritized primary persona, and you should be ready to flesh out the details so that the persona becomes almost like a living, breathing person, a persona that you can build empathy for and design meaningful services for. That means we now need to select a short, distinct backstory selected name and H find one or more suitable photos and finally create the presentation deliverable so collector goals, their behavior patterns, notes on attitudes and skills and other valuable information. Armed with this, I suggest you write a description about one page long that tries to income pass all those seats. Why do we need this? So a bullet bullet point descriptions. So why do we need this? Bullet point? Descriptions are good for logical and rational understanding, so please feel free to use that. But remember that one of the reasons we use personas is to help develop empathy and emotional connect with our users. And this goes back to the notion of experience design. People are not rational. First and foremost, they seek satisfaction and good experience, not features. So the narrative you write helps you get inside the personas head and understand and communicate her motivations and attitudes. You don't have to be a professional writer to do this right cleanly and not overly complicated. The narrative should put the personas actions into context and highlight what goes on inside her head. Ideally, both experience goals and end goals should be clear in the narrative. But don't describe your future service and product in detail. You are setting up the foundation for your design work. You don't know the details of your product or service yet, so treat the service as a black box where a magic box that helps your persona accomplish your goals. Writers have two words for separating actions from experience, story and plot. Story is what happens in the world that is the actions and plot. It was good. It is what goes on inside the characters heads. Your narrative should be a mix of these. If you want to dive deeper into this gets it. There are several classes on creative writing here on skin share that you can take a look at. So what you should have at this stage is a 1 to 2 page narrative that describes the personas, activities and feelings as she is accomplishing her end and experience goals with the help of your product or service 9. Step: Creating the Persona Deliverable: Finally, it's time to create the actual tangible persona deliverable. Here are some tips to help you develop these sections of the persona, but remember, like all visual models, it should be designed with the intended audience in mind. So I always caution people to use rigid templates. They should be used as inspiration and then tailor to communicate the content as efficiently as possible to your particular audience, to use short, descriptive bullet points as a summary. But keep the narrative you wrote in the previous class. The one page long narrative. The bullet list will help you understand the persona on a rational intellectual level, and the prose narrative will help you, your team, to understand the emotional and empathy building aspect. The important thing is that you don't go overboard with excessive fictional descriptions and that you don't add details that were not observed in the research. Use descriptive photography. Ideally, it should look like the persona is in the middle of an activity related to your product or service. There are numerous photo sources available online. Just make sure you use images correctly regarding licensing and rights. A minimalistic persona deliverable can be a simple as this one. It just consists of a name for ease of use when talking about the user group, and it's important that the personas name is realistic. That is, don't degrade the persona about confusing names with roles such as Busy Bill or Shopping Sharon. You're personas are supposed to be archetypes of people, not roles. So pick a name that you would find in the White Pages goes. That should include both end goals and experience goals behaviours. That's the patterns we covered in less than seven and sometimes a quote that illustrates or summarizes the goals and behaviors. He's useful. This would be the bare minimum, and I would suggest that you built from there if you've gone through the data collection process, suggested that this course you have plenty of other information to including the model. So other common content could be frustrations and pain points. Key questions that the persona needs answer in order to succeed mood bore of other brands and services that the persona uses knowledge or skill level if that is really relevant, such as the level of technical competency. If you're dealing with purchasing technical equipment such as computers or cameras for example. Word of question. You need to acknowledge that sometimes designers and developers might morph the description into something else. You need to be diligent about the goals and behaviors of your persona and not let the name , picture and other demographic variables cloud or modify that vision. On the other hand, the reason we use descriptions like name and photo is to make the persona more believable and to build empathy. So you're not designing for a list of requirements specifications you're designing for a person in this case, unauthentic aggregate off. Many persons recorded and rendered has your design persona. So what you should have at this stage is the complete single sheet persona description with photo name, quote and golds, experience, goals and behavior patterns. If you have more details from your research, please feel free to visualize these as well. The narrative that you developed in the previous step is usually kept in a separate deliverable. Since the text came take up a lot of space. If you're working on a big canvas, you might consider including the narrative as a section as well. Otherwise, just supplement the narrative as a separate deliverable. Please upload your final one sheet persona in the project area. This is a great way to get inspiration and learn more 10. Conclusions and Next Steps: your persona project should not be complete. Please post it in the project area for that for others to see. So how can you put your persona to use in your product development process? The next immediate step is to really make personas do things. In a scenario, the persona is the main character in a narrative where your product or service help him or achieve his articles, so you need to start writing stories. There are other ways to approach. It's, of course, and you might want to include customer journey maps to tell these stories more vividly as well. After your scenarios are in place, you use them to facilitate and test design ideas to see if they seem to resonate with your primary personas. At this stage, you might detect anomalies or realize that your design ideas need to change in order to fit the persona and the scenarios better. And that is the basic point about using this method, focusing your design efforts to make a tighter product that truly helps your users achieve their goals and supporting their behavior patterns in a positive way. Based on these scenarios, you can go several ways, depending on what kind of development process you belong to. You could write requirements that we will be handed over to developers or if you're more in an agile team, the scenarios can be used as pointers to what prototypes you start building in order to validate the requirements. In that scenario, you can read more about personas in the books about Face and Designing from the Digital Age , both published by Wiley. And there are several other books as well and also numerous academic papers. Um, which you can find on Google Scholar, for example. And if there is one critical take away from this course, I would say that it is that you should never create personas based on your own stereotypical understanding of your users. If the persona is not based on authentic research, it's probably not worth doing, and you should use that time to do other activities. But in my experience, doing qualitative user research is well invested time. So I strongly encourage you to do this for your products. Thanks for completed the course and good luck with your design work. If you're interested in learning more about design tools and methods, please check out my skill share course on customer journey, mapping and that course you will get more ideas on how you could model the service experience, which will help you design better products for people.