“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases“
- Carl Jung
Just as there is no recipe for living, there is no one person with the same exact desires, wants, needs, aversions, frustrations as any other person under the sun. And so, there is no recipe for designing a platform that suits all.
Though this chaos is what makes Life beautiful and fascinating, this is also what makes a strategist’s job quite challenging! If every person is different, how do we go about in designing a platform tailored to the masses?
Luckily, developing personas (Personifications of the targeted audience) addresses this complexity and simplifies the problem by finding the lowest common denominators (Which, from my point of view, are the socio-cultural roles we play, AKA archetype, ego, our programming, however you wish to call it). So how do we identify these? And how do we rely on these to build internet personas? Here’s my methodology (and I’m always open to hearing other possible approaches):
1. Research and gather info
The ideal would be to have access to research tools and data (Case studies, focus groups, surveys, and so on). Should these resources not be available, I find interviewing the client (Generally, the sales and marketing teams have years worth of insights on who the target audiences are) is quite helpful. Combine these insights with some online research (Articles, publicly available studies and statistics, website Analytics data, etc.) and you have a solid base to start.
2. Identify your personas
Based on the information gathered in step 1, segment your Target Market by drawing up a list of approximately 3 key “types” of people who will be accessing the platform you’re designing on a regular basis.
3. Define their archetypes
Understand who these typical users are, what their commonalities are, what are their motivations, passions, goals, frustrations and pain points. Define the general reasons (The “stories”) of why they would want to access your platform.
4. Build scenarios and use cases
Define how your personas browse the web in general, and identify their use of technology. Then list the different scenarios in which they would access your platform. With each scenario, define more detailed use cases and user tasks. Do this for each persona.
5. Outline a general strategy or approach per persona
Start developing your strategy by outlining your high level content and UX strategy to meet the needs of each persona:
a) Your content strategy should begin with a general outline of the type of content that needs to be available to each persona, followed by a mapping of which types of content and resources are already available internally, all prior to detailing the content strategy and related planning tools, such as an editorial calendar. Here are some tools to get you started on developing a content strategy.
b) I personally like to start my UX strategy by doing some research and identifying some websites, widgets, behaviours, font types, navigation styles, etc. that inspire me and that I find would be best suited to meet the needs of all personas. I create a sort of vision board if you like, and start things off from there.
There you have it. That’s my own personal approach. For an exchange of ideas on this topic, do not hesitate to write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org