A persona, also known as a user persona, is a design deliverable that shows the traits, qualities, and pain points of your target users summarized in a fictional person.

Updated on January 22nd, 2023


They are usually represented in a document or presentation to easily visualize the target user(s) to stakeholders who weren't a part of the research. Persona presentations contain a mix of text, icons, graphics, and other elements that better explain who the user is.

How are they useful?

There are several reasons why personas are useful. First of all, personas help build empathy and keep the user at the center of the design process.

The whole team and your stakeholders have to step into the user's shoes and dig deep into user needs, pain points, and goals. This process allows team members to deeply understand the target audience.

Secondly, personas can be used as a reference point when you and your team need to make a design decision.

You can always ask yourself: 'What would [Persona Name] need/would do/want?

And finally, personas are also helpful for communicating your findings with other stakeholders who are outside of the design team.

Since these stakeholders do not play an active role in the user research phase of your project, they're unaware of all the decisions and discussions that have taken place. Personas are a good alternative to summarize that project phase for them.

How to create a persona

You create personas based on UX research. You do this to learn about users' motivations, difficulties, tasks, goals, and expectations. One way to get the required data is by conducting user interviews.

Once you've done your research, you have to explore and analyze the data to discover patterns of shared user behavior, goals, and needs.

The final step is to create the document representing your persona(s). Typically, a persona includes:

  • Name

  • Profile picture

  • Demographic information like age, gender, employment, family situation, or anything relevant to the product or problem space.

  • User goals and needs.

  • Challenges, frustrations, and pain points about the current product or problem space.

  • A user quote that helps bring the persona come alive.

Remember that the names and profile pictures you use for your persona are made up. You can use name generators and stock photos.

Types of user persona

There's more than one type of persona you can use during the research phase of your project. But which one do you choose?

What persona you create depends on the available resources and the purpose it should serve. There are three different types of persona you can choose from:

  • Proto-persona

  • Qualitative persona

  • Statistical persona


Proto-personas are created based on existing knowledge of the target audience. Because of that, you can create proto-personas very quickly.

Since you do not carry out new user research for this persona, you need secondary research, guesses, and assumptions for crafting this type of persona.

Proto-personas are a good option if you have no time, budget, or resources to conduct qualitative research. Creating a proto-persona is better than having no personas at all.

Qualitative personas

As the name suggests, qualitative personas are based on qualitative research. This type of persona is a step up from proto-personas because it's based on data from your research.

Mixed-method personas

These are the most comprehensive personas you could build because they rely on qualitative and quantitative research activities from a large sample of users.

This type of persona is the most time-consuming of the three persona types on this list.

Useful resources

Putting Personas to Work in UX Design: What They Are and Why They're Important - Adobe

How to Define a User Persona - Careerfoundry



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