What is a user persona and how to create one in 7 steps?

Alibaba.com SEPTEMBER 20, 202211 MIN READ
What is a user persona and how to create one in 7 steps?

User personas work as tools to help people design better brands, products, services, and experiences that can serve the real needs of users. A user persona enables you to understand your customers so that you can serve them better, thus improving your business growth.

How can you design a user persona, and do you need one? In this article, we answer your questions, including some elements of a user persona and the key steps to creating one for your business.

What is a user persona?

A user persona is a semi-fictional character created based on potential customers who might like your brand, buy from you, or use your services. In other words, a user persona answers demographic questions like who your customer is and what they do and psychographic questions like their needs and buying habits.

Although a buyer persona is fictional, it assumes the qualities of real people and customers that will engage with your brand and products. This means you should base the qualities of your buyer persona on facts from well-conducted user research. You can get hard facts about your customers by observing or talking to them directly through interviews, surveys, quizzes, etc.

It's best to create 3-6 user personas at a time, especially if you have a diverse customer base.

Why do you need a user persona?

User personas are great tools for product development, improving user experience, and restrategizing your marketing campaigns. They help you understand your potential customers so that you can focus on improving your business or products to suit their needs.

So whether you are trying to sell a product or aid the design process of a mobile website, having a user persona will help you understand your target audience.

Some of the benefits of user persona for a brand include:

User Persona

1. Help create a great product

One of the major benefits of a user persona is that it helps brands create exceptional products or services. When you have a user persona, you can answer essential questions like, who will use our products? Where do they live? Where do they buy their products? What are their needs? Understanding this makes creating products that will satisfy your user base easier. And as you know, creating great products is crucial to building a successful business.

2. Build empathy

User persona helps you gain a perspective on your potential target audience, thus making it easy to build empathy. The more you identify your users as real people with needs and frustrations, the easier it is to understand their needs and how you can help meet them.

3. Make data-driven decision

According to a study, businesses that make data-driven decisions have a higher chance of success and generating revenues1. The good news is that a good user persona can help make better decisions for your brand.

For example, if you want to run a marketing campaign, you can figure out that the joke is too extreme for your millennial audience or the tone is too casual for your professional audience. Also, user persona can help you make better decisions about your business, including price, location, and products.

What does a user persona consist of?

You create a user persona to help you understand your user's needs, lifestyle, goals, interests, and observed behavior. For this reason, a user persona must contain elements that help you understand your potential customer better.

A user persona should answer the following questions:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What are the needs and goals of my potential users?
  • What challenges or pain points do they currently have?
  • What is the behavior pattern of my potential users?

Typically, the five key elements of a user persona are:

1. Demographics

This highlights demographic characteristics like Age, Gender, Location, Job Title, Educational Level, Marital Status, etc.

2. Pictures

Adding a picture gives a face to your user and humanizes the details in your user persona. Is your ideal customer a braid girl or prefers a ponytail?

3. Personality and interests

Next, you want to describe your user's personalities to help you understand their lifestyle and interests. Do they spend a lot of time outdoors? Are they vegans? Do they use social media often?

4. Goals/Needs

Your users' goals will determine whether your brand or products will interest them or not. For this reason, it's best to understand their end goals. Is there something they need, and what is the end goal they desire from a product? For example, a team leader may aim to improve communication within his organization. In this case, he may need a collaboration tool where he can have every team member onboard.

5. Pain Points/Challenges/Frustration

Understanding your users' pain points is the best way to build products or services that solve their needs. What are they struggling with, and how can your product provide a solution to these struggles?

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How to create a user persona in 7 steps?

Developing a user persona takes little effort as long as you know the proper steps to create one. Here are some critical steps involved in creating an accurate buyer persona for your end user:

Step 1: Define your target audience

The first step to creating a user persona is making a rough definition of who is likely to interact with your products and highlighting what you think their persona would be like. For example, when creating a persona for a brand that sells bikinis, the first that would come to mind is women. So, you can roughly construct a persona based on a woman, then assign characteristics like age group, occupation, needs, location, etc. You can also have multiple personas of different categories of women that may interact with your brand.

To get the first step right, ask yourself or your team about the kind of people that use your product or brand, and then start creating a persona based on this.

Step 2: Collect information about your potential users

The next stage of creating a user persona is conducting user research to understand certain things about your audience, including their motivation, behavior, and needs. The best way to collect information about your users is by conducting actual research through observation, social listening, surveys, interviews, diary studies, focus group discussions, and so on.

A good tip is to collect information using two or more sources to validate your data and build an accurate user persona. In case you do not have the budget or time to conduct an interview, you can create a persona based on the existing qualities you already know about your potential customers.

Some of the questions you can focus on during your research include:

  • Demographics: e.g., age, gender, location, occupation, years of experience, marital status, etc.
  • What are their biggest challenges, needs, or frustrations?
  • What kind of product are they looking for concerning the context of your business?
  • What are they trying to achieve with that product or service?
  • What platforms do they use the most?

Step 3: Analyze collected data to identify the behavioral pattern

Now that you have information about your target audience, it's time to analyze the data collected to help you identify behavioral patterns. To do this:

  • Highlight all behavioral similarities (i.e., ways in which your audience is similar.)
  • Highlight behavioral variables (i.e., ways your user base is different.)

Step 4: Create user groups and persona descriptions

Next, assemble the trends identified around the behavioral pattern and persona descriptions. Group the users according to their similar persona, interests, backgrounds, age group, lifestyle, career, etc. Each similar description and the behavioral pattern will represent one persona, and you can create more user groups based on other characteristics. Make sure you assign a name to each persona to make them more realistic. For example, a user persona can be named Janet, and another, Zayn.

It's essential to be careful when grouping your customer base, as participants may not have identical qualities. For example, two people may have the same interests and challenges but belong to different age groups and live in different locations. In this case, you should group them based on the most important factors like interest and challenges.

5: Draft your persona

At the end of your grouping, the next step is to create a bulleted list or summary for each persona. Highlight important characteristics and tweak the qualities until it reads like you are talking about just one individual. This one individual is a representation of your potential customer base. At the end of drafting your persona, you should have something that looks like this:

Janet, 25, Banker


  • Female, 25
  • Single
  • Banker

Interest/ Behaviors

  • Enjoys dressing up and standing out through great fashion statement
  • Favors high fashion over fast fashion
  • Enjoys meeting new people and finding new places to visit
  • Loves spending a lot of time outdoors on weekends
  • Enjoys swimming, going to the beach, and trying new restaurants


  • Latest fashion products
  • Curated lists of trendy fashion wear
  • High-quality workwear and leisure wear

Motivation/ Goals

  • To look good all the time
  • A work-life balance and social life
  • Convenient but sophisticated outfits for work and event


  • Not able to get work wear that can double as a casual outfit for dinners or
  • Difficult to find trendy outfits that fit her body size

Step 6: Finalize your user persona

You can now finalize your persona by revising the draft until it expresses enough details to understand your users. You don't need to add too many attributes of your user persona for it to make sense. The thing is, too many details may become confusing, which defeats a user persona's purpose.

Also, if you create multiple user personas, it's best to prioritize them by defining which one will be the primary and secondary persona.

Step 7: Use your findings to improve your business

Persona has no value unless you use it to improve your business and make better decisions. So, it's essential to get familiar with your personas and look for ways you can improve your business based on what you now know about your ideal customers.

User Persona

6 tips for creating user personas

Some of the tips for creating an accurate user persona for your business include:

1: Take advantage of templates to create your persona

One of the ways to efficiently create your buyer persona is by leveraging already existing user persona templates and tools. Some templates already highlight questions and qualities you need to fill in to get an accurate user persona.

2: Determine how many personas you need

There are cases where a single user persona can not capture your target audience's qualities and demographics. In this case, creating more than one user persona best represents your target users' different groups and profiles. You can create up to 6 personas depending on your type of business and the range of data collected.

3: Collaborate with your team

While creating your user persona, working with other people on your team is essential to get accurate results.

4: Revise as many times as you can

You may not get your persona right the first time, so revising as often as possible is okay until you have an accurate result. Also, your user persona can change over time, so keep updating your persona to accommodate new information about your customers.

5: Try introducing a scenario

A great way to humanize your user persona is by introducing a scenario. Create a story with your ideal customer as the main character and define what the goal is, what their needs are and what action they will take.

6: Visualize your persona

One of the ways to make your user persona memorable is by visualizing them using pictures and graphics. If you have multiple personas, consider using a different color scheme for each persona.

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1. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/data-driven-decision-making