User Personas.

This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution.  We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.


A collection of user archetypes based on real people. These characters are mapped out to use during design thinking tasks.


To ensure designs are based on real users, by focusing on their needs, goals, behaviors and pain points.  User Personas are used to consider how real users may interact and perceive a product. By carefully analysing how the end users may behave, better design decisions can be made.

How To Do It.

  1. Gather any findings that have emerged from preliminary research such as Contextual Inquiry or Stakeholder and User Interviews. Alternatively, use placeholder personas if no prior research had been done.
    *Note: placeholder personas do not substitute preliminary research because they are based on stereotypes but as it still fosters user-centered thinking, it's better than nothing.
  2. Create a set of user archetypes based on your hypothesis for how you believe a user will use a specific product or service i.e. a lab manager.
  3. Match the goals, behaviors and pain points with the appropriate archetypes. Pay careful attention and note down any recurring themes of goals, behaviors and pain points.
  4. Link the personas to the research that prompted them. This is helpful for when your personas are challenged on the basis that it is highly 'stereotyped'.

Further Discussion.

A deep understanding of user behaviors and needs are critical in shaping a product strategy. It forces us to never lose sight of who a product is being created for and for what purpose. Designers are able to clearly define which features and functionality are necessary (or redundant) to a user's experience, grounded in their archetype.