Skill Level Intermediate
- When discussing personas with teams, I often hear that teams struggle with choosing which persona to use and as you can imagine, most products have lots of potential personas and that makes sense. Our products should have many personas. If you and your team are like many, you debate design options based on the various personas' needs. It can be overwhelming to try to please them all. So how do you determine how to please all the users for your products? Well, let's look at this process.
First, know your personas. Defining exactly who your personas are is a great first step. Second, prioritize your personas and select a primary persona. Look at the various personas and determine who the most strategic persona is. The product owner and business analyst and team determine who the primary persona is, the main persona or most important and strategic persona we're designing for.
I like to brainstorm personas with the team and then prioritize them in a diagram like this. In this model, there can only be one primary persona and they're in the middle. There can be multiple secondary personas and multiple tertiary personas. Third, design for the primary persona. Once the team knows who the primary persona is, the team can then strategically discuss designs and implementation ideas of the product or feature with that person in mind and let go just for a moment of all the other personas.
This focus helps the team truly make good decisions on design and quickly. The team has a design idea in mind for the primary persona and the team is satisfied with how it meets that person's needs. Fourth and last, check that the design for the primary persona works for the other personas. In this step, the team uses the design for the primary persona and asks themselves, does this design also work for the secondary personas and then also asks, and will it work and be okay for the tertiary personas? This process and these questions validate that the primary persona stays as the main focus and the solution design also meets the needs of other personas.
The idea is that instead of trying to perfectly satisfy every potential user and take so much time debating it, the team focuses on one and the one persona who they're targeting anyway and they create a design for them then check to see that it works for others. It doesn't need to be perfect for all the others but good enough. If it's not, go back to the primary persona and design again with them in mind and repeat the steps to see if it works for the other personas.
This will save you and the team a lot of time and collaboration pain trying to design for everyone. Focus on the primary persona first. You won't regret it.