How to use Personas

July 20, 2016

We are often asked to produce personas for websites, and will diligently research and craft these, but how can you use these effectively rather than let them gather dust in the bowels of the organisation. Here are our top tips for making sure they get used and add value:

  • They need to be visibly present e.g. on the walls, on people’s desks, as cardboard cut outs in the room, etc.
  • You need a persona champion – someone whose job it is to see that these are incorporated into corporate thinking
  • You need senior management buy-in – they should think and behave that personas matter, so that gets implicitly communicated through the organisation
  • They need to be part of all discussions – about content, navigation or design e.g. “You say the content should be presented like that but is that what ‘Fred’ would want?”
  • They need to be part of all formalised processes e.g. ideally there should be a governance system so that content authors should have to make a case to place any content on the website. Part of this should be the user need for it e.g. “It’s a primary user goal of James”
  • They should be part of performance measurement – and providing feedback to senior management e.g. “Lucy achieved 90% of her goals”
  • They should be kept alive and up-to-date – for example with input from customer facing staff, with updated user research, with any relevant outcomes from any other market research