UX/UI: Intro to Personas


Take a look at these slides

What are some hallmarks of good, user-focused design?

  • Doesn’t just look nice - it has to work well
  • UXD is more (or at least equally) about function than it is about aesthetics
  • Context - anticipate user needs
  • Give user what they need when they need it
  • Explicit vs implicit interactions
  • Empathy!
  • Consider the user’s needs, goals, level of comfort, etc
  • Diversity on a team improves empathy and results in a better end product
  • Personas
  • Apps should be forgiving
  • Consistency
  • Based on science/user testing

Today we’re going to keep building on those principles.


  • Personas An example user, created by conducting research


A persona is an example user, created by conducting research (either interviewing actual end users, or by market research to develop symbolic end users), and includes information such as what the user’s goal is, how familiar they are with the app, their situation in life, how often they will be using the app, etc. It’s a tool used to help designers and developers construct the architecture of an app.

Here are some examples: example persona example persona example persona

Personas can feel a little silly, but they are a great way to keep you focused on the user as you build an app. Especially as an app evolves and different pressures are applied (sales! marketing! budget! deadlines!) it’s helpful to have a tangible reminder of the needs of your users.

Today, we’re going to redesign existing websites based on user personas that you create. We’ll get into groups of at least 4 people, composed of people you don’t normally sit near :)


First off, this project is not graded. This is a lesson in prioritization - many companies do not prioritize UXD, so it’s up to you to put in the time and effort to make an app functional and useful for your users. You get out of this project what you put into it!

So let’s get to it:

Your group will be assigned an app or website, such as:

  • News apps
  • Dating apps
  • Retail apps
  • Music apps
  • Social media apps
  • weather.com
  • wellsfargo.com
  • united.com
  • allstate.com

Then, everyone in the group will fill out the persona worksheet. MAKE A COPY of the worksheet, choose a character you know well, and fill out the worksheet for that character.

Some ideas:

  • Ron Swanson
  • The Wicked Witch of the West
  • James Bond
  • Wonder Woman
  • Dana Scully
  • Dracula
  • Hermione Granger
  • One of your parents
  • One of your siblings
  • etc

Take the time to be thoughtful, too, even though this is also - admittedly - a silly project. Really consider what your person needs most from the app they are using.

Once your personas are finished, start brainstorming how you would edit/change/improve your assigned app/website to serve your users’ needs. Keep in mind that the goals and needs might be conflicting - find a way to balance them, make compromises, do your best to serve as many people well as is reasonable.

As you redesign, keep in mind:

  • UXD principles
  • your users (the personas you created)

Designs will be shown off during next week’s design lesson time!

Be prepared to talk about the personas you created, the app you were assigned, and the changes you would make and why.

Feel free to create a mock-up design, or simply talk about your proposed redesign.

And remember - we’re using fun subjects, but take the UXD portion seriously - strive to create really effective designs that anticipate the needs of your user!

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