Have you ever gone fishing? Sitting in a boat or by the river, listening to the sounds of nature, simply waiting. Many people do just that, they sit there and wait. Yet, if you actually want to catch something, you will need the right tools and a well thought out strategy to start with.
Building and positioning a technology product is somewhat similar to fishing. You can’t just throw something at your audience and wait, hoping they will buy it. To make sure your product finds its audience, you need to give them exactly what they want. You have to know your users, understand their needs, and their troubles. The best way to do that is to create user personas.
Testing the waters – best practices
Usability.gov defines the main purpose of the user personas as “to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference.”
Namely, you can use them at any stage of the development process, as a means to:
- brainstorm and prioritize product functionality
- create detailed wireframes
- map out user flows
- create appealing UIs
- write relevant copies
- position and market your product
Adequate user personas rely on thorough research, which takes the guesswork out of product development. The best way to know your users is to talk to them directly. Thus, a live interview is the most popular and effective means of user profiling.
However, if you are at the early stages of product development, you don’t have any users yet. In this case, you can analyze your competitors and talk to their users instead.
It usually takes from 5 to 30 interviews/respondents to identify a certain pattern. After that, you need to structure and analyze the data, and draw conclusions from your research. Based on the information, you will be able to single out several user personas (typically 3-4).
To make the most of your interviews, you should focus on three main aspects of a user profile.
3 questions to ask when creating user personas
The first step is to find out as much information about a person as possible. Typically, you should focus on the geographic and demographic background of your user. This is their behavioral profile. Simple and somewhat obvious questions work best in this regard.
Don’t be afraid to sound naive, sometimes the interviewee’s reaction can tell you more than their words. So, ask questions, observe, take notes. Every small detail is important because this is what will make your user personas true-to-life and thus valuable.
At this stage, you need to define the user’s pain points. What are their needs? What challenges do they face in their everyday life? What problems are they trying to solve with your product? It’s important to ask questions relevant to your particular product or industry.
For example, if you are building a fitness tracker app, ask how often, where and when do they work out. If your new product is an eCommerce solution, focus on their shopping habits. Thus, you will get a better understanding of how your users will apply your product to solve their needs.
This question aims at uncovering the real reasons why a person is using or will want to use your product. If you are talking to your current user, ask what made them choose your product.
How does it help solve their problems? If you haven’t built your product yet, ask your potential users what would make them consider switching from their current tool to your product. Maybe they need more features? Or, on the contrary, they need something more simple and easy to use.
Read also: Mobile app retention rate: How to improve it
Identifying user personas is a crucial step in your product development strategy. By doing so, you can focus on what’s really important for your users.
By eliminating the unnecessary and overlying complicated matters, you are reducing waste during the development process, Moreover, a persona-driven product and the development of such, results in up to a 20 percent higher customer satisfaction rate. Just think about it. Funny Snapchat lenses might be popular with a certain group of people, yet you wouldn’t want to add this feature to a professional networking platform, like LinkedIn.
By investing in user research and persona development, you are laying the groundwork for a successful product.