How to Successfully Create a User Persona in 5 Steps

When designing a B2B product, it’s important to note that you’re designing a product for the ‘people’. And how well can you do in UX design if you don’t know these people enough? A friend of mine had the same problem. 🤫 And do you know what helped him out?

Taking the time to thoroughly learn how to create user personas in UX design since they do a magnificent job teaching designers how to get to know their audience and better at satisfying their needs.

So, without further delay, let’s get started with today’s article that will help you understand just that. 

What is a User Persona?

User Personas, aka UX personas, are the semi-fictional characters based on your current customers or the ideal customer picture in your mind. They represent the whole frame, including certain common qualities that your users possess. They help you achieve excellent product development and respond to your target customer’s demands by guiding you through your potential users and what they find appealing.

Understanding these personas can improve your product marketing. They can be easily created by communicating with your users, gathering various demographic and psychographic data, studying them, and acting accordingly afterward. 

Why do you need User Personas?

Now that you’re familiar with the term, you might be wondering more about the benefits of personas and what exactly they can achieve for you and your business. Let’s now look at the most obvious reasons you need them.

  • Understanding motivations and needs

First things first, User personas are beneficial to understanding users’ motivations and needs and how these notions come to practice in online use and purchase. They will help you create a clear picture of user types so that your team can easily focus on them while making design decisions and align around what’s critical instead of brainstorming on some irrelevant issue or arguing over what the user wants. 

  • Eliminating pain points easily. 

User personas can help you understand the negative issues your users might be facing with your website or product; they give you a very quick heads-up that enables you to tell where the problem is and decide what to do with it without any delay caused by disagreement regarding the problem. 

  •  Uncovering the differences in purchase habits.

When it comes to uncovering the various ways that people search for things online, buy & use products/services, and set their expectations, user personas again act as your personal guide that walks you through the use cases and experiences of real customers so that you can focus solely on improving those user journeys and make them count. 

  • Exploring new areas

Another great thing about user personas is that when you pay close attention to them, they demonstrate users’ anticipated needs and might uncover such goals and needs that users may not even be aware of until then. In that sense, they create room for innovation and improvement and allow you to discover new market areas. 

  • Preventing confusion

When you get a grasp of your user personas, you will be able to draw the best route that leads to a great user experience. When you create this path accurately -thanks to the user persona data- chances are you will quickly skyrocket your productivity and have no trouble getting lost during the process since you will know all about the conditions, expectations, and possible bumps along the way. 

Now that I think you’re convinced with all the benefits that come with creating User Personas, let’s quickly dig deeper into the steps that will enable you to create your User Personas in UX.

How to Create a User Persona in 5 Steps

User personas represent your target audience. Therefore, during the persona-defining process in UX, you need to focus on the real-life customers rather than your dream audience.

If you want to see what an example of user persona in UX design looks like, check out our article User Persona Examples.

Here are 5 crucial steps that answer the question “How to Create a User Persona”.

1- Write down the features to be determined

There are various user persona types; however, there are basic features to consider while defining your persona. You may see different features lists, but they usually serve the same purposes. So here is our list of user persona features:

  • Occupation,
  • Demographics,
  • Their personal story,
  • Their marital status,
  • Their income level,
  • The challenges in their stories,
  • Their education level,
  • What they require to overcome these challenges,
  • A clear and descriptive quote by them.

By compiling the data you receive by conducting research into these areas above and grouping your findings in a spreadsheet or some other database, you will have made a great jumpstart that’s followed by dividing the data into relevant content and headings to ease the process. 

2- Never give up detailing your research

Creating a real user persona requires detailed research to end up with a clear persona. As you have a list of features to determine, you know what you need to research.

There is no single source of information to learn about your target user; you need to do interviews, read forums and reviews, consider your own experience, etc. In other words, the sky is the limit.
You need to dig as deep as you can. There is no ideal number of real person references to create the best user persona.

Add all the information you obtain during the research under the appropriate features on your list. Then, you will know when it is time to end your research because your buyer persona will start feeling like a real person.

3- Study the patterns

After you’ve collected sufficient information, the following steps include utilizing that information to create your user personas. To make a decent start, you should identify specific behavioral patterns among your findings. 

At this point, you will start to see these patterns – the field/area of workplaces, the industries in which customers work, what devices they use, at what time of day, and where.

Going further from here, you can create questions about your users and determine what they have in common or how and where they differ. You will be able to identify the trends that show you the specific differentiators between various groups of users with different characteristics. 

Pay close attention to these characteristics explicitly relating to the goals, pain points, positive feedback, and other necessary information contributing to the final product usage. Once you manage to synthesize your information, you should check your mappings to see if there are any gaps or clusters in the overall result and act accordingly before moving on to the next step.

4- Organize the information you obtained

Your detailed research will provide you with a bunch of information. Now, it is time to organize and categorize what you have. Find out which qualities are more common than the others.

Remember that we are trying to know the ‘typical’ user, so focus on common points.

For example;

  • If there are 15 digital marketers but only one teacher, ignore the teacher.
  • If the majority is older than 30 years, ignore the audience under 30.
  • If the majority cares about the user-friendly design over price, consider premium versions.

You don’t need to address everyone; on the contrary, you should minimize your target audience for maximum efficiency. Take your time to find out all the intersecting qualities for B2B user personas just so you can offer the best solutions to make a difference with your B2B product design process.

5- Share the end result

Detailed personas are great and all that. But what are they good for unless they are distributed perfectly within your organization?

This is the step where you make sure that all your team members are on board and familiar with your primary persona. This sort of convenience and organized teamwork will help you keep everything up to date with your users’ main problem areas and tell how these problems differ within various groups.

It’s no surprise that as people become familiar with these user personas, they start to feel like they are actual people, members of the team, and consequently they keep these personas in mind when making a decision about a new feature, purchase, or an innovation, brainstorming on what that particular persona would think about that feature and how it would be parallel to their needs.

With this approach, your design team will be able to understand and appreciate the personas and take action accordingly, which leads to relevant results, and a superb user-centered design afterward. 

Final Word

Understanding your target users is critical in creating unique products that speak to their needs and meet their expectations. Ideal user personas can enable marketing teams and UX designers to answer the most crucial question: ”Who are we designing for?” 

It’s not impossible to design a successful product that satisfies users’ wants. Still, it requires understanding the expectations, frustrations, pain points, and motivations of the target audience—all of which you can achieve via creating user personas. 

Hopefully, this article provides what you need to answer your questions regarding creating user personas and their utilization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be in a user persona?

A user persona can consist of a fictional name, job title, demographics, including age, education, ethnicity, marital status, income level, and personal challenges.

What are the 3 categories of user personas?

The 3 categories of user personas are as follows:

  • Proto personas 
  • Qualitative personas
  • Statistical personas

Proto personas are not based on fresh research, but they help align the team’s current estimations about the audience’s characteristics.

Qualitative personas are based on small qualitative research like interviews, tests, or the conduction of field studies. 

Statistical personas come up when the former qualitative research results in a survey that’s used to gather an extensive analysis of statistics.

Is the user persona fictional?

A user persona refers to a fictional yet realistic character in that it’s created as a reflection of common characteristics of real users; with the help of the semi-fictional character, they manage to offer an observation of actual users.

Ready to make easy User Onboarding, without coding?

Join the group demo; 24.11.2022 / 11:00 AM ET

Register Now!

Join 10,000+ teams creating better experiences

14-Day Free Trial, with an extra 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!

Share this article:

Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce is the Senior Inbound Marketer of UserGuiding. He is highly invested in user onboarding and digital adoption, especially for SaaS, and he writes on these topics for the UserGuiding blog. When he's not writing, you can find him either listening to LOTR soundtracks while cooking or getting angry because he lost in a video game.