User experience design methods and concepts
Personas are prototypical users which help designers, developers and stakeholders to emphasise with their target audience.
When user experience just started out to become a new profession personas where ubiquitous. Currently they do not so get much attention any more.
Personas can be divided into at least 3 distinct types: Proto-Personas, research based personas and role based personas.
Mostly used in the beginning of a digital development project, they are made up off attributes defined by assumptions of the target audience. They can be really helpful when the team and stakeholders need to be aligned on target users and can later be enriched with user research insights. Proto-Personas are also a good starting point for recruiting actual users.
After some initial user research has been conducted personas can evolve from research insights and be incrementally modified with additional testings.
In B2B projects users can have different roles which involves different tasks and goals. Role based personas can help to model different user groups and help the team to differentiate and emphasise with them.
It is often very helpful to start ideations with insights into your target audience. If you do not have any research insights, you can use Proto-Personas to emphasise user and customer centricity.
Non-research based personas are prone to error and desire. If you have already a user base it is wise to check with their demographics before you create fancy young adult personas even if your actual target audience is in its fifties.