User personas are representations of major user groups, created in product or service design projects. Personas typically include an image of a person who represents the user group; their purpose is to make it easier for designers and clients to empathize with such users. Imaginary yet embodying real-world qualities, a user persona visualizes the main characteristics, ambitions, and frustrations of a group of users—via extensive qualitative and quantitative user research. The persona is given a name and a few personal characteristics such as age, gender, educational level, occupation, etc. A main part of the representation is a short scenario, describing relevant actions of the persona in his/her natural context. This helps the design team to understand how a new product or service would fit into such individuals’ daily lives and impact their experiences.


Personas should be ideally created at an early stage so that the designers are more goal-oriented at every step and have a picture of the ideal users.


For any given project, creating only three or four personas is best. Remember that it is better to paint with a broad brush and meet the needs of the larger populations than try to meet the needs of everyone. The goal of personas is not representing all audiences or address all needs of the website but instead to focus on the major needs of the most important user groups. To ensure your personas are accurate representations of your users and have the support of your stakeholders throughout the process, you should:

  • Conduct user research: Answer the following questions: Who are your users and why are they using the system? What behaviors, assumptions, and expectations color their view of the system?
  • Condense the research: Look for themes/characteristics that are specific, relevant, and universal to the system and its users.
  • Brainstorm: Organize elements into persona groups that represent your target users. Name or classify each group.
  • Refine: Combine and prioritize the rough personas. Separate them into primary, secondary, and, if necessary, complementary categories. You should have roughly 3-5 personas and their identified characteristics.
  • Make them realistic: Develop the appropriate descriptions of each personas background, motivations, and expectations. Do not include a lot of personal information. Be relevant and serious; humor is not appropriate.


Below is an example of a persona for a site called Medwonders, which is a health-related site:


Personal Background:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Family (single, married, children)
  • Education
  • Photo
  • Technical Skill
  • What industry or industries does your company work in?
  • What is the size of your company (revenue, employees?)


  • Frustrations and attitudes
  • What is the user motivated by?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What is the user looking to do?
  • What are his needs?
  • How do you prefer to interact with the travel agent (email, phone, in person?)
  • Do you use an online travel website to book ticket? If yes, How? Which website?


  • What are you responsible for?
  • What does it mean to be successful in your role?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • How do you overcome these challenges?

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