This is a new but interwoven category of web design strategies.
Persona’s are an interesting approach to web design. One of the difficulties organizations have relates back to the “who are my customers” dilemma. Market research and user segmentation is as critical on the Internet as it is on the business side. Government departments seem to be particularly susceptible to having issues with user segmentation on their website.
In order to build a persona, one has to know what your user segments are and their relative importance to one another. If you have a good handle on the segments, then constructing a fictitious persona that the web designers can use to validate their assumptions will reduce the design iterations and meet the users requirements.
The tricky part is how to determine user segmentation without going through a lot of research, time and expense. There are no short cuts, but one can optimize certain steps that will allow you to get to the critical elements with minimal effort.
Persona’s are fundamental to user-centric design approach, which places the emphasis on what the users’ goals are relative to the organizational requirements. A persona based design methodology is a very powerful method of:
Determining the objectives for the website,
- Identify primary and secondary target users
- Identify user goals through qualitative and quantitative research of the primary segments
- Developing an archetypal user to represent each segment
- Identifying specific scenarios based on user objectives and goals
- Designing website based on this persona perspective
- Validating the persona and fine tuning the website
The benefit of this approach includes building internal communications and teamwork, shortening development time frames and reducing costs by reducing the cycles in the design process, and greatly improves the likelihood of success since the design is oriented on the user.