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Making User Personas Real

You know you have a good user persona when it feels like the person it describes is in the meeting with you.

One of the secrets of great product teams is that they have a deep understanding of their client's and prospects' needs and objectives. They document this knowledge in user personas that provide meaningful profiles of the people who use their products and solutions. A good user persona represents the user’s job, goals, challenges, daily tasks, and personality in depth. This insight helps the team identify solutions and build products that people love.

I've worked with teams where we gave each persona a name, a personal story, and their career path as background to the profile. We made the description available to everyone on all the teams, including product, development, service, sales, marketing, and finance. We all shared an interest in understanding our clients and buyers better, and in building a deeper respect for their roles and objectives. People referred to the roles by name as we discussed how the functionality and user experience could add value for them.

I love listening in on meeting conversations where the persona is real, and people are discussing how that person, by name, would respond to and value the proposed functionality. It makes me confident that the product is on the right track and that the work will result in a solution that people love. Building and maintaining personas is an investment that yields excellent results.

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