Review on “Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members” & “Why Personas Fail.”
Throughout design sprints, one may ask, “is the design of my product user-centered? Or do I just believe it is?”
In a user-centered design (UCD) process, products and services are designed for the intuitive usage of its users. Understanding the users from a personal level is crucial in accurately depicting the actual potential users, not the user we hope to get. Therefore, surveys, interviews, and other experimental methods of user research such as “cultural probes” must be conducted to gather the information that becomes the foundation on which the design process including user groups, personas, and user scenarios can be set.
Personas are set up in a way that represents the target audience of the design product. While the product’s target audience provides a more general sense of for whom the product is being designed, personas provide a more detailed view of the target audience which includes their personal information such as pain points, motivation, and lifestyle. To designers, building personas is both an act of translating the abstract concept of the target audience into an actual person whom they can communicate through the design process, and an action of creating an anchor point in a design process.
Let’s say we are designing a service for working parents in the metropolitan area, and we are about to ask ourselves about our exciting project. Which question will we find more insights from asking? “How will a mom/dad in the metropolitan area feel about this service?” Or “How will Martha/Matthew, who is 36 years old, living in midtown, NYC, while working in the financial district, usually comes home at 9 PM, carries phone all the time, feel about this service? In creating personas, designers build a personal relationship in which they understand the user not as a generalized abstract group, but as a human and an individual with opinions, life, and stories to tell.