While is it very possible to create a website with no user persona, establishing a solid foundation for a result oriented website starts with the clear understanding of your target audience. Trying to figure out who your target market is, can be difficult, daunting and if done incorrectly can have you scratching your head and wondering why your marketing efforts are not working.
One sure way is the creation of a user persona, which is a fictional user that represents your ideal targeted audience. Through data collected with existing clientele, you can extrapolate enough information to form user personas. The user persona helps drive how your website flows, from layout, images and messaging, thereby allowing the website and its pages to be more effective in achieving the needs of your business.
In order to create a user persona that is true to your target customer, it is important to include these essential characteristics:
While giving the persona a name may seem like a waste of time, but it is one of the more important steps in creating a user persona. By giving the user a name, not only will it help you refer back to this persona, it also helps to identify with this user, giving them a more “real person feel” and helps develop this user to their specific goals while on your website.
What is in a name? Everything when it comes to person’s. Much like giving a character in a movie a name it brings a sense of connection and realism with that individual. In a persona setting, it allows you and your colleagues a way referencing this persona type and relate with this fictional character by name.
It may seem that having a picture of a fictional persona character may seem unimportant, it actually is quite significantly important for connecting to the user type. When creating a user interface and allowing the website to have a solid user experience, and creating that experience is easier done if you can relate to the user with a real image. A visual of a person, makes it easier to create the persona type, particularly if you can relate image.
Testimonial or Quote
Providing a quote or “testimonial” from the persona character, may again seem unimportant. What this does however, allow you to dig deeper into what is the most important objective of the user when they on the site. By understanding what the quote or testimonial would be, the pages that relate to this persona type is much easier to create, in terms of images used and layout of the page itself.
Knowing the history and background of your users will help in creating a navigational flow of the website. The user’s background might be a more technologically savvy, or consequently the user that may not have any computer or technological skill at all. Depending upon the background of your user can greatly impact how the visitors on your website will navigate and flow to a call to action. An example, may be that your audience is primarily single male in their early to mid 20’s. How you word the site, where the call to actions are located, images used and content may differ than that of a male in their mid 40’s who may have limited time to spend on the website.
Skills & Education
Understanding the skills and perhaps even education of your visitors provides a more clear understanding of how a web page may be designed. If for example the intended audience is geared towards bio-engineer users, verses artists and designers the visuals and content are very different. Each of these user types would have specific industry keywords that would attract those persona types. Keywords utilized on the site will be picked up on the search engines and strategically used keywords and phrases will allow the correct audience to click through from the search engines to the website. Incorrectly unitized words, will not only attract the wrong audience but increase the bounce rate on web pages.
Additionally, by understanding the skill set and education of the users, the design and layout of the site will be impacted. Going back to the example of a bio-engineer audience and an artist audience, a bio-engineer may be more interested in factual and informative content rather than images, where as the artist website may be more interested large visuals and less content.
Knowing where your users are geographically located is very important in making sure that your website is designed specific to how your audience is accustomed to interacting with a website. If you are located in the United States and have a following in another country, you have to be careful to insure that your website does not suffer from any loading issues. You must also insure that all the features of your website is available and properly functional in other locations. E-commerce websites for example may to take into consideration the shipping costs and additional international fees that might apply to international sales. By understanding where your users are geographically located, will insure that you are able to cater your website to the needs of of your users and insure that they have no difficulties interacting with your website.
Understanding your audience social network will allow you to plan out a marketing campaign and create a user path that your audience may take. Depending on your user persona, the social media preference may differ. While some users may connect with their networking group through Linkedin, others might connect more through Facebook or other social media. Each social media platform has different techniques to maximize interactivity with potential users. Making an assumed path for a user persona, will allow you to create a landing page that will complement your social media campaign.