We can’t possibly understand the needs of every single user or customer we have on a personal basis, so we often use a tech product persona.
Don’t confuse a tech product persona with a traditional persona.
Traditionally, personas include background info about who a person is. For example: Katie, 28, lives in Edinburgh. She drives a red BMWi3 and likes chocolate, etc. They are quite empathetic and can be quite extensive. Whist this is all useful information, it smacks of ‘big design upfront’ and the information can go stale before it’s used.
A tech product persona is less interested in that and more concerned with how they might interact with a product. They are much more lean and focussed. This can be broken down in to two main areas, context and implications.
Let’s imagine we have a target user group of busy commuters for a new app we’re building. We don’t need to know about an individual so much as what is going on in their world so we can make some informed decisions around it. Here’s an example:
- They can only interact via their mobile
- They’re likely on a subway, so there is poor signal
- They are in public, there’s not much privacy
- They don’t have much time
- They are likely to want to use text, not voice for information transactions
- They need the app to be lightweight, super-fast and slick.
- They don’t need a desktop version
- They will want great security.
What this does is help us get a feel for the problems we need to solve to make a great product for our user. Instead of focussing on who our user is, we focus on what our user needs, what will make life easy for them in a moment, at a place, at a time where we can provide some benefit for them that no-one else can.
There are those who say this is oversimplified and there’s some truth to that. Just think of it as a minimum viable persona, the basics you need to help make decisions at any given time.
Remember that investing too much time in this is pointless as people change fast, as does the technology we use to support them, which is why we can also use a persona to help us pivot where our product is going.
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