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Persona CreationMethod

A persona is a fictional, yet reliable and realistic description of a target user. Unlike marketing personas based purely on demographics, design personas based on qualitative and quantitative research and describe the user’s motivations and how they accomplish tasks.

Personas ground design in reality by forcing us to consider the goals, behaviors, and pain points of the people affected by our design decisions. Effective personas typically:

  • Represent a major user group for your website
  • Express and focus on the major needs and expectations of the most important user groups
  • Give a clear picture of the user's expectations and how they're likely to use the site
  • Aid in uncovering universal features and functionality
  • Describe real people with backgrounds, goals, and values


Persona Creation is often more effective when it is informed by these complementary methods.


Gather research from earlier activities like contextual inquiry or stakeholder interviews in a way that’s easy to review.

  1. Create an initial set of user archetypes based on how you believe people will use your solution.
  2. Analyze your research for patterns as they relate to user archetypes. Specifically note frequently observed goals, motivations, behaviors, and pain points.
  3. Pair recurring goals, behaviors, and pain points with archetypes. Give each archetype a name and add a fictional account of how they accomplish tasks throughout their day. Add a photo of someone who fits the description, but ideally not an image of someone you’ve actually interviewed and who may be recognized.
  4. Link your personas to the research that inspired them. This is useful when researchers are interested in challenging the way a persona stereotypes a user.


Persona Creation typically produces insight and solutions focused on these areas:

  • User Preference

    Elements, arrangements, or qualities of experience design that user state or show are valuable to them.

Persona Creation Resources

Next Steps