Personas vs. Proto-Personas in Website Design and Development

The designers and developers make sure to consider the flexibility of users when they are designing websites, software, and digital products. So, the UX professionals typically use the Personas in their different varieties for representing the specific groups of users.

Website Design and Development

So, a Persona is a tool used by the User Experience designers for maintaining alignment with each and every member of a team on the website or else for the digital project. They fulfill the purpose to help in orienting a project, and even further serves in making informed decisions at the time when the user goals are primarily put into question. Therefore, a persona is the representation of particular user or customer types and it helps in answering the question, “for whom are in the design being made?”.

The Key Characteristics of Personas in Website Design and Development

  • A lot of researches are done that represents your target audience
  • Everything is detailed
  • The finishing is smooth. All the parts are well thought out – these details are used for the presentations of the entire UX process.

For complete and successful website design and development, the data is collected about the potential and present target user base. The collected data could be from interviews, surveys, focus groups, and other relative methods. From the collected data, a hypothesis regarding the customers can be built up and this hypothesis further helpful in generating the owners’ persona.

Then, the website designers and developers can build up their “fictional character” that is persona. They personalize the characters by giving them a name, job, picture, interests, and hobbies. The persona is then described of their goals, behaviors, and attitudes.

After that, the persona can be replaced in several scenarios wherein they should be using your products and services.

In “About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design”, its author Alan Cooper has defined a person being based on the real people’s behaviors and motivations, as have been observed and they are further represented throughout the website designing process. Personas are the composite archetypes based on the behavioral data collected from a mass of real users as they have encountered at the time of ethnographic interviews.

One chief way for interpreting the true persona’s definition is a particular model representing a huge scale of similar users, who are similar to the said stereotypes in social sciences. Nevertheless, different from the stereotypes based on racial generalities, the true personas determining the website designing and development are based on ethnographic research, user observation, and user interviews. The very purpose of the gathered data is for the benefit of UX designing and development professionals in building a digital product with much accuracy and with informed decisions. With this being said, often the upfront cost for conducting the researches and creating true personas could be daunting at the time of starting the digital project, and it is where the proto-personas are involved.

A Proto-Persona is even an Ad-Hoc Persona created by making use of anecdotal evidence as wells as the intuitions of project stakeholders. (By “Ad-Hoc”, we mean impromptu or improvised.). It is possible to create the proto-persona in varied manners. However, the Proto personas even fulfill the same purpose as do the true personas, and it is much beneficial in ensuring alignment between each and every stakeholder involved in the project.

The Key Characteristics of Proto-Personas In Website Designing and Development

  • Ad-Hoc
  • The persona that is driven by non-research
  • Low fidelity

In order to create a proto-persona, first, you have to gather different stakeholders familiar with your business products and services. Make sure the count is not more than 12. Then you have to ask either the small groups or individuals to start generating personas essential for the products and services in a specified time period, let us assume the time to be 15 to 20 minutes. Next, they will have to present the persona’s back to the original group. The designers take the ideas and attempt to discover the commonalities existing between them for creating a few chief proto-personas while reducing the priority level of the personas which are less relevant.

Therefore, the above discussion has made it clear about the primary difference between the true personas and proto-personas is a dearth of thorough and length background researches and elaborate studies while considering the proto-personas. Since the creation of proto-personas is done in research’s absence with the progress of the project, so a lot more is learned about the users, for instance through the user interview, split or A/B testing, and more. As the project continues, updating the proto-personas with more accuracy becomes more flexible for reflecting everything that has been learned. By means of this particular method of better personas building up, it will be easier for the apps, websites, and software to evolve and progress to better serve all the users’ needs.