How can storytelling and identifying clear narrative elements lead to effective designs? “Every great design begins with an even better story,” according to designer Lorinda Mamo. Each and every decision you make as a UX designer should be built upon a measured and understandable thought process. The people who interact with your designs are looking for a simple and reliable interface that helps them achieve their goals without the hassle. Careful research and consideration are key to your success. Getting to know your target audience is also a major component of any UX design certificate program. Part of that process typically includes researching and crafting a user persona to inspire your distinct design choices and reasoning. But what exactly are user personas and how can they lead to more effective designs?
User personas are essentially fictional characters you have constructed to help you visualize your audience. They can help you to create a mental picture of what your users need and how they prefer to interact with technology.
Creating a strong user persona requires that you understand the goals, challenges and preferences of a typical user. This may involve conducting interviews and implementing surveys. During your research and development phase, consider the following questions to help you craft an accurate and realistic user persona:
- How does the user identify?
- What is their main goal?
- What obstructions or obstacles get in the way of the user achieving this goal?
- How much do they care about style or aesthetics?
- What typically frustrates them?
- What inspires or excites them?
Your list of questions could be quite simple or complex depending on the timeline and bandwidth of your team. These types of questions will inform and inspire the creation of your user persona and will ultimately impact the success and functionality of your design. If engaging with end users sounds daunting or you are not sure how to have those conversations, a communication skills course can help you build confidence in this area.
Once you have done your research and created a realistic user persona, you can start incorporating all that insight into your design choices. Remember that the needs of your users will also differ depending on the platform and purpose of your design. Are you creating a web or mobile app? Updating software? Building a webpage? Consider how you can optimize each iteration of your design to ensure a positive and efficient experience for the user persona you have created.
To build your solid foundation, look for a thorough and dynamic ux design course where you can develop the necessary skills and expertise to support end users. You will need to acquire a thorough understanding of data collection, user research and digital prototypes. Moving forward in your career, ongoing continuing education will help you stay relevant and adaptable as a designer. Whenever you encounter a challenging design roadblock or you are struggling for inspiration, you can always go back to the basics. Focus on the mental image of your user persona and make informed choices that align with their needs.