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What is a persona?

In marketing, a persona is an imaginary person that represents a target group for a product. A persona should reflect the target group as a whole and the various demographics of anticipated users and consumers. Once the characteristics of a persona are created, a person is selected who fulfills these requirements. This person can then take part in usability testing or focus groups to give feedback on a product’s design. In software engineering, personas are used to aid the user-centered-design process.

Benefits of personas

A persona can give insight into the usability of a product for people in a specific target group. For example if the persona is a 60-year-old, this would be used to see the possible reactions this age group might have to a software application or website. This means, that from a set persona, the suitability of a product can be assessed with regard to a large number of people. When using personas, it is important to remember that this cannot give a definitive prediction of how a target audience may react to a product. For example, 60-year-olds will have a varied set of IT skills and will have different needs from a product depending on their background. The more personas are created, the more attitudes will be represented in the marketing and product design process.

How to determine a persona

To determine a persona, the characteristics and needs of the target group must be assessed. Finding a persona for blind individuals might require finding out what this particular target group requires on an accessible website - such as Alt Text. Once these needs and characteristics are gathered, a persona can be molded from them and may remain fluid as more data is gathered. Then, a person is found who matches the characteristics of a persona to analyze their reaction to the website or product.

Related terms

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