Use research data to create a shared understanding of your customers

"How would Marty Moderator use this feature compared to Annie Accountant?" That's a better question than "How would a customer use this feature?"

To do this, we develop personas – descriptions of typical user categories along with stories about how they use the product to meet their goals. We use data from our customer research to build personas. Download the persona shown above.

Personas are widely used. The Voices of Veterans document from the US Department of Veterans Affairs includes personas that "represent a group of people who currently use, or in the future might use VA’s products or services."

There are usually just a few personas, and we designate one as the primary persona, the one we use to break a tie when making design decisions. Personas in UX may be different than those used by marketing, because we're looking at behavor rather than demographics.

We share personas with your team so everyone has the same understanding your customers. Personas are useful in usability testing (to define tasks), QA (to define tests), documentation (to know how to present information) and other activities.