Web User Profiles – User Personas By Glen
Originally published January 2007
Before starting any Web project it is imperative to understand the target audiences. The target audience may be existing users or, in the case of a new site, new users. User profiles (also referred to as user personas) are an excellent way to document and illustrate realistic sample users. User profiles are short bios or narratives about a user and their use of a Web site. These personas typically are concise one page documents.
Creating user personas is often the job of an information architect or designer who understands the target user groups and is experienced in creating these documents. However, in some situations it’s beneficial having the combined Web group or project team collaborate to develop the user profiles. Working as a group will force the team to focus on and understand the various user groups you are targeting. Typically how profiles are developed will depend on the size of the site, budget, and timeframe.
It’s important to make sure your personas accurately describe the target (or existing) audiences. They should be based on your current understanding of existing users (if they exist), research, user interviews, and the knowledge of content experts and clients.