A user persona is the development of a fictional character who is a representative of the intended audience. The purpose follows to reflect the goals and behaviour of the hypothetical users to help designers visualise the user experience.
Some of the fundamental questions that need to be considered when creating user personas include:
What are the tasks the user is trying to perform?
Are there different tasks for different personas?
It should be assumed that different personas will take different paths, which can essentially affect their mindsets when reaching the end goal (specific path or discovery path). For example, a designer must consider what platform the user may be viewing from. As a result, multiple personas will be developed as a solution to each platform. I.e. Desktop/Laptop, Tablet or Phone.
Another great way to further understand user personas is by creating mental models. This is an important aspect because it illustrates how the user approaches a particular problem which defines the overall user experience.
An artefact persona is the outcome of giving the product a personality. This helps the designer to envision their visual strategy.
The following questions are assessed when developing artefact personas:
If the interface were a person, what would she or he be like?
How would you expect the users to react when they first view the product?
How would you describe this product to a friend?
How is the product different from competitive products?
Which celebrity (or car, movie, etc.) is the product most like? Least like? Why?
Alongside answering these questions, listing a group of experience keywords help define and govern the visual strategy. Usually having 5 core words help create the beginnings of the personification of the product.
HELPFUL: Always giving people good advice.
CONFIDENT: Believes in oneself and pushes own boundaries to reach higher.
MINIMALISTIC: Does not need to be lavish to be expressive.
KNOWLEDGEABLE: Can always rely on for information.
FASHIONABLE: Knows how to dress and act appropriately.
(Implemented in Assessment 2)
Developing both a user persona and an artefact persona is principal to understanding the targeted audience and crucial to designing a successful interactive interface. Both profiles help realise mistakes and encourage improvements.
Xtensio is a good website to use to build a foundation on persona profiles.