Audience Identification: Persona Research

Persona Research Summary

Knowing who will use the technology is great, but it is better to understand their motivation for interacting with the solution in the first place. Personas drive what I call BANG: behavior, attitude, needs, and goals. With BANG in tow, I discuss how I guide projects from personas to success

Key Points

  • Create profile types to full personas depending on time, information and leadership support
  • Teams need context and goals to rationalize features and functionality for end-users

Align around who?

Where do you start? You have been working with the team at your company for years. You have landed on an understanding and shared knowledge of your team’s process for successful delivery. Your team is now presented a new project to deliver with a cross-functional team.
How do we know what the downstream needs are or what they are going to do? You are experienced in your work stream and are great at planning out your work within a larger delivery plan. You know there are several work streams later in the delivery of the project, but are not familiar with the intricacies of their work. Your work has a high impact on the outcome of the project.
What could be considered a valuable feature? You moved to a new team to help deliver a project. You need to ramp up quickly and have no experience with the project. You have been asked to join to assess where the most value can be derived.

Within the answers to these questions live silos of knowledge, understanding and communication. Teams and work streams need ways to bridge the knowledge gaps so they can be successful. They also need alignment in communication that drives toward value for the end-user of the project. Through research and agreement, persona development has become my go-to experience design tool.

Screenshot from persona definition worksheet displaying spark-line comparison data.

Facing tight deadlines and a lack of shared knowledge of how we drive real value, persona development helps me improve team alignment. Creating reliable and realistic representations of key audience segments has put my team in successful positions to develop solutions for users of our technologies. These representations are based on qualitative and quantitative user research and knowledge sharing. The quantitative and qualitative picture of the users are valuable for identifying support or design and development priorities, and is often a baseline starting point for user flow analysis. Persona development has not always been taken up at the beginning of a project.

Table highlights primary facet groups persona attributes can be associated to.