So You Wanna Build A Product? ̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶l̶g̶o̶e̶x̶p̶e̶r̶t̶.̶i̶o̶ Create Persona First

persona example (https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.nngroup.com/media/editor/2015/01/19/examplepersona.png)

In this article, I wanna talk about persona (yeah, not the game/anime franchise one) and its importance on the product development process.

What is Persona?

Before, let’s talk about the definition of persona in the product development context. Personas can be defined as a collection of one or many fictional persons where each person has its own motivations, goals, and difficulties or concerns. Those personas represent the potential group of users whose gonna use your product and are gathered based on a thorough user research process. Therefore, we can’t create a persona randomly. As said in the article^[1], user persona is written in 1–2 page document that describes information regarding the characteristics of one type of user like what’s necessary & what doesn’t.

Usually, a persona is presented in a one or two-page document (like the one you can see in the example below). Such 1–2-page descriptions include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and background information, as well as the environment in which a persona operates. Designers usually create user persona template templates, which include a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character (e.g. quotes of real users), as well as context-specific details (for example, for a banking app it makes sense to include a persona’s financial sophistication and major expenses).

Why Does Persona Matter on Product Development?

I think it is inevitable in product development to understand what kind of users that will be using the product. Imagine, a client asked an architect to create let’s say minimalist house. However, due to the misunderstanding of the architect, the architect created a maximalist & eye-catchy house. In the context of product development, we can say that the house building is failed right? That’s the analogy of how important the user understanding really is in product development.

User persona helps us as the product developers tackle that problem, in a sense that we can understand what kind of product that users really need. Why is that so? User persona tells the users’ goals, difficulty, and behavior so we can design the requirement that’s really fit with the users’ needs & expectations. To put it simply, this persona doesn’t serve as a mask to protect you from hardship, but this persona helps you understand the hardship and needs of the potential users.

persona mask (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b0/ff/0a/b0ff0a06887433bb494b421ac57ea568.jpg?q=60)

How Do I Create Persona?

1. Segment Your Product’s User

You need to gather the possible users of the product, I mean not all of them since it’s impossible to do so. To make a good user sample, you can do market research first.

2. Group Users Based On Similar Characteristics

After you gathered and segmented the data, the next is to identify the characteristics and cluster them. If several users have similar characteristics, you can group them into one user role/group. While the user group isn’t really relevant to what your can product can offer, you can eliminate them.

3. Put Some Nice Details on Persona

Once you have clustered the data, you can put several details on each persona/user group. Some several details that you can put including:

  • Name, Age, Role, Photo, and Background Description
  • Goals, Concerns, and Motivation that describe what the user wants to do/achieve with our product
  • Pain Point or something that frustrates a user
  • A quote that sums up what they want to achieve with our product

You need to put this information as realistic & believable as possible because the goal of creating a persona is to make the product maker can relate with the potential users so they can build a better product that suits with user’s needs.

Persona In Practice

We, For Future Use, were asked to develop a system called Paperless Judicial Process. This system basically connects the district court’s system and the prosecutor office’s system for the judicial process. Here are personas that represent the potential users' characteristics for it.

persona for criminal justice admin role

First, let’s talk about Sonya Siwal. As a criminal justice admin, she wants a system that eases the document exchange process between district court and prosecutor office because that exchange process can’t be done online. For that reason, we decided to create features that allow criminal justice admin to upload or download the document on the table/form.

persona for prosecutor role

Then, let's talk about Larasati. As a prosecutor, she wants a system that could upload the demand letter/indictment so that the document can be downloaded by the criminal justice admin directly. Therefore, not only criminal justice admin that can upload/download documents, a prosecutor can do it too.

persona for system admin

Then, let's talk about John Kan. As a system admin, he wants a system that can manage the users & their permissions. That system must also be intuitive since he isn’t a tech-savvy person. From that concern, we decided to create features that allow system admin to see a list of users and manage their respective data. We also want to add a search bar on that list so the admin can easily find the user that he/she wants to see/manage.

Last but not least, let's talk about Andi Taufan. As the head of prosecutor office, he wants to oversee his subordinate activities. From that point, we decided to create features that allow the district court/prosecutor office head to check the list of subordinates & several documents that are uploaded by his subordinates.

Based on those personas, we concluded to consider ease of use & straightforward flow as non-functional requirements for our product.

Key Takeaways

By creating personas, we can develop a product that really suits users’ needs & expectations, and that’s the whole point of product development! By creating personas, we can define several functional requirements & non-functional requirements for the product. Not only that, we can understand & relate what is the user wants to experience with our product so we can build a better product. So, it’s really worthwhile to create personas first on product development because at the end of the day the most important aspect of product development is the user.

So you wanna build a product? Create persona first