Personas are very important in the digital design process, personas are detailed and specific but fictional characters that are used to aid design.

Briefly

  • Any company has a number of different types of customers / users that can be segmented into.
  • Personas take one of these segments and apply specific characteristics and terminology for the persons goals, desires and attitudes.
  • These personas are then used as the real focus point for design, where the designers speak directly to the persona person and design to that person.
  • It ensures that everyone in the design process identifies with a ‘human face’ and help infer what would appeal to that specific person.

By making it detailed and specific, you can avoid falling into the trap of designing an experience for everyone (and hence no one).

Although commonly overlooked in the heady excitment to deliver some thing quickly, it can pay real dividends and even challenge some preconceived notions of what customers want.

Here is a an interesting article on how one company uses personas to help deliver content and how personas helps attivio generate more valuable leads

The article is somewhat high level in terms of covering off true persona development but a lot of customers (Marketing / Communications directors and CEO’s) are struggling with how to use the web to speak to individuals rather than a mass broadcast that in reality talk to no one, will find it interesting.

Although the persona research and design process is technology independent it is hard (near on impossible) without a platform such SharePoint 2010, to tailor the experience to users as they navigate through your site let alone offer a dynamic, pertinent and compelling one!  Equally Inside the organisation it is very hard for the company to keep track of parallel experiences (e.g. for the 4 personas) and ensure that digital assets, voice and content are focused and relevant to the end goal.

Happily SharePoint 2010 helps with 

  • Web content management system, delivering dynamic content and persona specific experiences
  • Workflows and support of parallel content development and deployment
  • Digital Asset management to ensure that the correct digital assets are aligned to the personas they speak to

and all within the Unified and Flexible enterprise strength platform that Microsoft delivers!