What is a persona in UX and what is it used for?

Whether you work in design, project management, marketing, or are a product owner or entrepreneur, you've probably already encountered the term "persona". This tool, which allows you to embody the user in order to better understand his needs and create a solution in line with his target, is now a fundamental step in any project design phase.

UX Research and Persona, waste of time or real design tool?

Whether you work in design, project management, marketing, are a product owner or an entrepreneur, you must have already encountered the term "persona". This tool, which allows you to embody the user in order to better understand his needs and create a solution in line with his target, is now a fundamental step in any project design phase. But how to create a relevant and really useful persona? What is the purpose of the persona and how to integrate its use in the project design process? The Ylly team will answer these questions here and offer you, in addition, a case study that should please you.


I - What is a persona?

The persona is a tool that has been used since the early 2000s to help design projects. It is the embodiment of the product's target, a fictitious person described in a precise manner. This fictitious user will be presented with a first name, a profession, interests, goals and aspirations as well as other topicals related to the project. 

It is very rare to have only one persona for your project. The interest is to identify the differences between the people targeted by the project. Even for highly targeted products, it will always be interesting to also describe a more indirect target that, at first sight, would not be concerned by this solution but that, in some cases, could be led to stumble upon it. What would their reactions be? How can we succeed in converting these more distant targets? It is by creating several types of personas that you can answer these questions.


II - Why create personas? 

By creating these advanced files of typical users, it becomes easier to put ourselves in the shoes of the targeted person in order to create a product that best meets their needs. By giving a job to our persona, we get information about their social category, their lifestyle, their schedule. By filling in her favorite applications, we acquire crucial data on the uses and navigation principles she is already used to. By giving a clear objective to our typical profile, it will be easy to add functionalities or elements that respond perfectly to her problematic. The list of attributes to give to our persona is infinite. By selecting themes related to the project, we maximize our chances of covering as many issues as possible or obtaining information essential to understanding our user.  


III - How to create personas?

The question you have to ask yourself now is: how to create a persona? How do we get the data to include in our schema? The answer is simple: it is strictly forbidden to invent anything.  All information in a profile must come from a reliable source, because your return on investment depends on it. Indeed, an invented persona, written at random, will not really represent your future users. You think you know your targets and their behaviors but in reality, you will base your reasoning on prejudices and the research will be biased.

In order to create the persona closest to reality, you have several options: First, you can conduct a quantitative survey. Ask your users through forms, don't forget to ask their age, social status and other information needed to create your persona. If your project has a very specific target, you can turn to a more qualitative survey: conduct interviews with a representative sample of your future users. During the discussion, you will have the opportunity to dig deeper into their consumption and usage habits, their problems with existing solutions and their needs. 

If you don't have the opportunity to conduct this type of survey, you can look for existing surveys to create your personas. But this second method will work if your subject is quite general or if there are already many competitors. As a general rule, persona or not, it is always better to interview your future users at several key moments of the project design. This is what we see in the sprint design method.


IV - For what type of project should personas be created? 

Case study, travelers' personas

Whether you want to launch an app, create a clothing brand, do digital communication or even organize a charity event, using personas will help you in the design phase of your project. 

We tend to find most often examples of persona related to digital services or marketing projects but, at Ylly, we would like to share with you an original work done in the framework of our communication. This summer 2022, if you follow us on our social networks, you must have seen the "Travelers' Personas" series. The idea was to make a practical case by linking personas and application audits, while proposing an attractive content that people could identify with, like a magazine personality test that you can read by the pool.

The concept of this campaign was to present the different profiles of travelers, their main needs on vacation and the digital services that can accompany them, just like those we can design on a daily basis at the Ylly agency.

The survey is divided into three phases:

- The first, collect information on the different profiles of travelers by analyzing studies and surveys already conducted. 

- From this information, create 6 personas in order to represent the largest possible number of people. 

- And lastly, to carry out an audit of the applications and functionalities that can accompany them in their various journeys, and link them to the personas.


This is how we arrived at this result: 

1 - Calm type

Julien, 27 years old, developer in an agency, belongs to the Calm type. This type of traveler will favor relaxation, simple but fun activities and that with the least amount of organization possible! Calm travelers will need support to organize their trip from the first step! This is why we introduce them to the Chronos application, an ERP for HR management, allowing them to manage their vacations in companies, on which they will be able to have a visibility on their team's vacations and plan their vacation from the beginning of the year. 


2 - Traditional Type 

Laurent, 40 years old, is a data analyst. He belongs to the Traditional type of traveler. These people are very organized and will want to visit all the must-see places on their vacation, without exception. If you look in the photo album of a "Traditional" traveler, you will find him or her grabbing the top of the Louvre pyramid or leaning against the tower of Pisa. The most important thing for these people is to organize their trip to the minute so as not to waste time. Worried about not being able to see everything, their days will be very rhythmic. So we suggest they use the #PackKing application that generates a personalized list of things to pack according to the destination, planned activities, transportation and other personal needs.


3 - Romantic type

Kim, 32 years old, digital project manager, belongs to the Romantic type. These travelers are not afraid of the unexpected. Going on a whim to visit the Chambord castle in order to take a romantic break is common for them! Mobile, dynamic and creative, they will need to visit unusual places with charming surroundings. No need to go to the jungle to feel disoriented, a brunch at the Maison Rose in Montmartre will offer them the gourmet and poetic break they needed. Romantic personalities are sensitive people, especially to their environment and therefore to preserve it. They wish to make as few long flights as possible. So we suggest them to take a closer look at the Sncf.connect application which will allow them to book trips, everywhere in France, even at the last minute. 


4 - Adventurous type 

Hyena, 35 years old, is a Community Manager. She belongs to the Adventurous type of traveler. Adventurous type people are fond of thrills. They need to discover unexplored places. They are not afraid to go alone. A big backpack, a good GPS and the adventure begins. Here again, it is not a question of organizing the stay at the minute. Indeed, a strict program could prevent unexpected encounters or sensational discoveries. If there is one concept that these people do not know, it is the comfort zone. Going off the beaten track into a wild jungle is the only routine they conceive when traveling. So, in order to accompany adventurous profiles in their perilous journeys, we introduce them to the Maps.me application, an indispensable ally that offers maps and routes in offline mode. 


5 - Curious Type 

Mathilde is 24 years old, she is a UX Designer and belongs to the category of Curious Travelers? To bask in the sun for 5 hours at the beach is unthinkable for these people. Indeed, the perfect vacation consists of countless visits to museums, historical sites or even cities that are themselves full of history. The people accompanying the Curious personalities have rather interest to hang on: no rest in sight but long hours of walking to be envisaged. Obviously, this type of personality can be quite incompatible with others, so we suggest that these people take a look at the Meetup application, which offers group activities with the aim of meeting people with common interests and why not find their new travel partner for years to come? 


6 - Eccentric Profile 

Noah is 42 years old, he is a Motion Designer and belongs to the Eccentric type. For these people, travel is an opportunity to dream, to be inspired, to feel new emotions and maybe to open up to new cultures or philosophies of life. Eccentric travelers are those who, upon returning from their trip, will tell you that they tasted totally unknown dishes at the local's house and visited a forest inhabited by incredible energies the next day. You will have understood that they are sensitive people, guided by their emotions. So it is logical for them to bring their closest friends on their adventures. In order not to break this harmony with unfortunate issues such as the sharing of expenses during the trip, we suggest to these people to download the Tricount application which will allow them to divide the expenses and account for who owes how much to whom in a very simple way. This way, the most headstrong of the group will be able to enjoy the trip in complete serenity, without being afraid to spend the shopping budget on a stone with a thousand virtues.


Our UX design expertise

Personas are unbeatable allies when it comes to understanding the target and the objectives during the design phase of your project, whatever it is. 

The Ylly agency offers to help you create this type of tool during the UX design phase. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to realize them alone and an external view is often necessary.

Although the word "persona" evokes the idea of a character and therefore a story, it is not a question of imagination but of concrete and objective data, collected by you or with our help. Once this step is completed, our experts will have a solid base to move forward and create these personas that will serve us, for sure, to aim right and captivate your future users


To learn more about personas, please contact us

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