As I’ve been writing up my design process, I’ve been creating some more tools and templates. Here is one for the ‘scoping’ and ‘understanding’ part of design work: the User Persona Profile document.
Two of the central principles of the user-centered design process are to Design For a Specific User, and to Know Your User in a meaningful way. Rather than just start building a product, or trying to build for an average composite of 18-39 year-olds, the design process pushes the designer to construct a deliberate, thoughtful Persona, who will be the target audience.
This Persona Document is meant to structure the user-centeredness for the designer — to make sure she understands the user she is building for, and also to discover hidden opportunities for making a great design. That’s the point of the user-centered design process. To really build a product that will be useful & engaging to your audience, you have to understand your audience in very specific & nuanced ways. It is more useful to build a complex portrait of a fictionalized user than to rest on generalizations about what your user wants.
A deep-dive Persona Creation will give this complexity, push the designer to inquire into their audiences’ preferences & actions in a more meaningful ways, and — through this attention to details and the non-obvious — lead the designer to better solutions: that are breakthrough rather than cliched, and that will excite & engage the user.
Please feel free to use this Persona Document as long as you attribute it back to me. And if you have other design tools that you use in your process, send links along!