Daily UX Crash Course: 6 of 31

Just like marketers have a target audience, UX Designers have user personas/profiles: descriptions of users, based on research. But ours are a lot different.
So today we will learn a little about:

Creating User Profiles


(Just starting the UX Crash Course? Start here.)


First of all, let’s nail down what personas or profiles are NOT:

  • Personality types

  • Demographics

  • Characters in your “brand story”

  • Stereotypes based on your experience

  • Shallow or 1-dimensional

  • Concepts

  • Predictions

So what is a persona / user profile?

It describes the goals, expectations, motivations, and behaviour of real people. Why do they come to your site? What are they looking for? What makes them nervous? And so on.

All the information you need should be in your research and data. If you can’t back it up with research or data, you’re just making shit up and you should stop.


Bad Profile: Persona A is a female, between the ages of 35-45 with an above average income and education. They have at least one child and own at least one new vehicle. They are outgoing and career-oriented, and tend to be right-brain thinkers.

Why it’s bad: That might be great if you’re selling ads, but as far as UX goes, that profile is basically useless. Why? Because it doesn’t allow you to say “no” to any feature ideas. What sort of features does a female between 35-45 need? It could be anything!


Useful Profile: Persona A is an experienced manager, mostly interested in one or two areas of expertise. They visit often, but they are pressed for time, so they focus on “collecting” content to read on the weekends. They tend to be prolific social media sharers, mostly to Twitter and LinkedIn. They consider themselves thought-leaders, so public image is important.

Why it’s useful: Now you have a lot of information to use! You know that fluffy content will not be popular, self-curating will be a big deal and you have a basis for setting up content categories. They need easy access to sharing, and only certain types of social sharing will be relevant.

You also get to say “no” to a Facebook campaign, because these users don’t spend time there, and digest emails will be better than frequent notifications because these people are already pressed for time.


Think of “Ideal” Users. Several of them!

When you think about features, think of the most valuable version of the users you see in real life. You’re not trying to support the current behaviour; you’re trying to nudge those users toward an “ideal” version of themselves.

Also remember that all users are not alike! You will probably have a few different behavioural groups, and they all deserve a good profile.


Tomorrow we will learn how to think about different devices!