Process: The People
To me, personas are critical in the creation and functionality of websites, mobile applications, and anything with which humans have to interact. There is strength in numbers, and personas are the accumulation of all of the collected data, information from surveys, interviews, and the vision of the clients.
I want to get a basic idea of the average person who uses or would use the website or mobile application for which I am designing.
To do this, I create some user journeys based off of the current user flows, conduct some contextual analysis on the current app/site and/or competitive/comparative sites, and do a few card-sorts with the current sitemap to see if there is any issue with the copy.
Creating a survey is the first step in figuring out the current market and helping to find the right people to interview .
Asking the right questions is key: I want to make sure that what I need to know is worded in a way that isn’t leading but that gives enough relevant information with which to move forward.
I must then organize that data that I gain from the surveys in order of importance, and decide what I can focus on for the interviews.
After sending out surveys I want to focus on getting more details on the answers that were given. Why did they say yes to this, but no to that? What makes them dislike this thing? Why do they like that website application?
Keeping the interviewee comfortable and giving them the time they need to answer the questions naturally is incredibly important. The accuracy of your information and data is dependent on this.
The interviewer must remain neutral, yet friendly, and not lead any answers or make the interviewee feel like they are being judged.
With all of the data in-hand, I can then allow the main users of the product to create themselves.
This process is very time-consuming as it is the accumulation of, hopefully, a lot of information and the personas themselves will serve to represent the users and the company goals for many features to come.
After getting down all of the descriptors and relevant details, I set about organizing them into likely characters, who, after a few items are places, begin to 'flesh' themselves out.