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What are Personas?

Personas are fictional representations of actual users. They come in many forms, but all serve a specific purpose and target audience. Personas are a result of extensive research and data analysis from sales or user profiles to determine the most likely user or reader of websites and documents.

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To create an effective persona, they must:

Developing Persona Models

Persona development starts at the beginning of the project to inform site functionality, uncover gaps, and provide new opportunities for improvement.

There may be more than one persona depending on the main audiences, but limiting development to no more than three or four works best. It is better to address the needs of the larger groups rather than focusing on smaller groups that have less impact on sales and message. The goal in creating personas is not to address all potential user groups, but to concentrate on the most important needs of the most likely user of your site.

To make sure personas are accurate representations, you should:

The Persona Lifecycle

Adlin & Pruitt (The essential persona lifecycle: your guide to building and using personas. Waltham: Elsevier, 2010) describe the stages of persona development similar to human development. In these stages each persona becomes more closely connected with the user’s needs and expectations. They are:

The Benefits of Using Personas

Personas ensure focused decisions related to site components by adding a real – world consideration to the conversation. They also provide a quick and inexpensive way to test and prioritize site features throughout the development process. They also help: