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CSCI 1720

Intermediate Web

Homework 3 - Personas

User personas are essential in helping you design your website or app to meet the needs of your users


User personas are now widely recognized as being an integral part of the user experience. Everyone involved in each stage of the development process should be invested in the personas, from stakeholders and designers to developers

Researching a user persona can be time-consuming and requires some good old-fashioned rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty with empirical data. Choosing a design that not only complements your hard work but helps you get the most out of it is no trivial task either

When it comes to design, apart from some general best practices, there are no rules as to what your user persona should look like – the sky’s the limit! The type of persona that best fits your purpose will be determined by what kind of app or website you’re designing, as well as the scope of your product, the userbase the persona template will represent and your company culture.

What to include in your user persona design?

Keep in mind the effect you want it to have on whoever views it – you’ll want it to be memorable. How much detail you choose to include depends on what’s relevant, but the general rule of thumb is that less is usually more when talking about user personas.

One great piece of advice from Twistlab Marketing is that a user persona’s design should ideally be based around the Pareto Principle, whereby they will represent that 20% of your userbase that will use 80% of your products’ features, or that will account for 80% of your revenue.

When deciding what information to include in the persona template, bear in mind that while certain details might be relevant to one project, they could be irrelevant for another. Sometimes, depending on budget and time-restraints, a well-researched user persona is in order, whereas, in other cases, a lean persona template might suffice

Your Assignment

You are to create at least two personas


  • Be creative!
  • There's no 'one right way' to approach this, so do some research
  • The examples on the right were made with an online persona generator (click to enlarge), but you don't have to use one. However,
  • The examples show some of the information you would want to capture with a persona
    Your persona should include, at a minimum
  • Name
  • City, State
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • A quote that characterizes their personality
  • Technology skills
    1. Internet
    2. Software
    3. Mobile
    4. Social Networking

Best practices

Goals and pains should more-or-less take center stage. These are usually the key factors in coming up with your product design and development solution

Try to make sure that your user personas don’t overdo text – the simpler the better, as they will be easier for your end users to internalize their details and mindsets while the product is in development

Try and make it as visually appealing as possible – you will have put a lot of work into your persona and you want it to stand out – using an attractive color scheme that’s indicative of your persona’s characteristics, as well as icons and graphics can help in understanding who they are

Include psychographics – behaviors, attitudes, opinions, and motivations are what make your personas human

Use an image of the persona. It can be a photograph, a cartoon or a sketch, but it must represent the person well in terms of age, lifestyle and occupation. Never – and we repeat – never use an image of a celebrity or someone from your company. If you do this, you risk creating a bias view of that persona

Maintain a unified design – it not only makes it easier to compare persona traits, but also makes it easier to recall the main facts about all of them

Certain demographics can be useful, depending on the scope of your app or website. Where they live and their salary range are usually important factors to consider including


joan perez persona
Joan Perez
joan perez persona
Sean Perkins

Sample Persona Images

Here are some images you can use in creating your personnas

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Save each persona as a Word (.docx) or Acrobat (.pdf) file and upload each to the HW2 Dropbox folder. Remember, stylistically, your submission should look at least as professional as the examples provided


For the narrative parts of your persona, don't just copy/paste text from a persona generator - Make up your own. Visualize a user (it helps to think of a site you may be developing, for example, a craft shop, and then imagine what kinds of people would visit that site). Give them names, ages, personalities, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses that you create. Not what some random persona generator creates for you. The important part of this excersize is less about how it looks and more about visualizing your potential users