Knowing and creating the relevant User Persona is very important for any business. To create an active online presence, you need to reach your target audience. To reach your target audience, creating user personas can be highly beneficial. To make sure your business strategies are actively creating an impact, you need to be sure that they are being pitched and aimed at the right audience.
Organizations tend to utilize User Personas for multiple purposes. Personas aid businesses with making the correct choices they need to make while growing, starting, and developing their business as a whole. A user persona can be described as a fictional character that represents the business’s customer base or potential customer base; this will be based on demographics, behaviors, and their underlying motivations to use your service or product.
Persona creation can also be referred to as giving a face to the data available. It is always better if the personas are based on real data about real customer behavior. It is essential to study who will be using the User Personas because while one makes them, they need to know the expectation and traits that the users of user personas may have. The three broad categories that we will be discussing in this post are Persona Users identified by us and as to what entails their persona.
The first category is that of Executive Users.
These people are the ones on the top tier of the organization, the primary decision-makers. This kind of managerial person wants data and notes that identify trends and critical milestones over multiple years. An overview of the business performance and the fulfillment of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) defined by the organization can help this tier of managerial staff in planning for the future more effectively. Many core decisions are reliant on the data that is being provided. Many Executive Users are in critical administrative roles, and their choices can impact a significant number of people; this is a crucial point to remember while presenting them the data.
Importance of Data Visualization
Data Visualization becomes of core importance to Executives users because they need to have a distinct idea about the business performance and because that may entail several variables being studied all together, they need to be presented cleanly and comfortably. Given that Executive Users are mainly associated with the strategic decisions in an organization, they are short on time. The data presented to them must be easily understandable.
Another reason why effective clear data visualization is of core value to Executive Users is that they are the key decision-makers. They need data spanning over at least three years, and data files that have longer timelines can be hard to interpret if not presented appropriately.
Attention to Detail
They particularly look for depth within the data that they are reviewing and analyzing and are very attentive to details. The important thing here is to know the kind of question these Executives may be asking when looking over the data given that they are reviewing. It is well-advised to provide these kinds of users the room and opportunity to explore and break down the data for better analysis. The decision that is awaiting them is of high importance, and thus they will often want to have their questions answered through the data provided to them. Hence you need to make sure that the dashboards or reports are not over complicated for the reader or viewer.
The second category is that of Analytical Users.
Analytical Breakdown of Data
The Analytical Users of these User Personas will be well versed with technology and would want tools that allow them to break down the data as per the requirement to be able to form linkages and required patterns that may be found in it. Data Analysts, usually confused with Data Scientists, are generally quick at digging data and cutting it open, exposing the things that may be hidden otherwise. Thus, it is essential to have online analytical processing and modeling to ease their workload.
Medium Term Decision Making
This kind of User Persona Users tends to not be in charge of long term decision making. They are responsible for creating content that is understandable by other stakeholders of the organization and will most likely demand data for one fiscal year in comparison to the previous one. They will need room to create analysis tools that can help them compare better, such as dashboards or scorecards.
Fussy about the functionality
Given that these kinds of Users are data-driven, it is only fair for them to be very vocal about how they see the functionality of your work. They are most likely to question you way more than the other two categories of users we have mentioned here. It is essential to make sure that you can fix any mistake you may make while embedding analytics; this will help you avoid any critiques that may come your way.
The third and last category is that of Operational Users.
Day to Day Decision Making
These Users are usually Store Managers, Sales Managers, or Controllers. These stakeholders, at their levels, need data that are inclined towards a more direct and instant approach. They are more concerned with daily data and need to analyze if their sales are reaching the targets set out by them and if not, what measures can be taken to improve sales. Thus they might require data ranging from 1 day to 3 months and will not need too many details other than their departmental information.
Short on Time
The job roles of Operational Users are stressful and time-consuming. The users who are utilizing user personas at this level do not want information that will delay their decision-making process. Operational Users mainly have their time majorly spread over managing the business itself, and thus they need news that is crisp so that they can get tasks sorted for the day and plan for the next day in real-time.
Easily Comprehensible Information
The presence of this within the data is essential as per an extension or by-product of the above persona detail for Operational User. Since we have established that these users are short on time and they need crisp information about them only, it is crucial to present this information in a way that they can easily pick out the details that they need. If the reports incorporate bad data visualization, it is most likely that they might not use them most efficiently, and it may overwhelm them for no reason.
Specific Kinds of Reports
The needs of these users must be kept in mind while providing them with the data. Giving Operational Users reports that they may not be using will be a waste of resources and time on your end. They have an eye for daily tracking, as mentioned. Thus, it is crucial to supply them with information that levels down to the most grass root levels of the transaction. Such metrics will help them in making their day to day decisions quicker and with the chance of minimal errors.
These three categories tend to use User Personas, and it is imperative to understand the traits and needs of each before designing the Personas. You may additionally need to put in work in trying to understand the frustrations that come the way of the above-identified users.
Moreover, it is also helpful to understand how each of the groups will be using the data because it will provide you with an insight into what decisions they are trying to make using the data you are offering. This information will help you understand their specific needs and will give you room to provide them with solutions that cater to their problems and questions.
Each Persona user has different things that they are looking for from the User Personas, and thus getting this information, as to what each Persona user demands, should save you some effort and provide you clarity regarding the deliverables. You just need to find out what exactly it is that they need access to, the frequency with which they will need access to it, and what level of detailing do they require to assist their business decision-making process.
The Bottom Line
User Personas are especially important to new businesses and startups. Well established companies usually have a lot of experience in their field of work, and they are successful because they typically know the kind of audiences are dealing with. However, that is not the case with startups. The new businesses are answerable to investors and face the risk of losing potential investments in case of lower than targeted turnovers. Hence, User Personas are crucial for new businesses due to the multiple benefits they bring about for an organization.
Want to see the usefulness of personas in action?
Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., Chowdhury, S. Şengün, S., and Jansen, B. J. (2020) Personas and Analytics: A Comparative User Study of Efficiency and Effectiveness for a User Identification Task. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20), Honolulu, HI, USA. 25–30 April, 1-13.