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The Development of Personas

Personas are based on research to help understand users' needs, experiences, behaviors and goals

How to achieve an effective persona:


  • Represent a major user of your site, app, product or service.

  • Focus on the needs and expectations of the user groups.

  • Describe real people with backgrounds, goals, and values.


Some Examples:

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Paul (54) has been working at State Park for over 30 years now. Although he is in management he likes to get outside as much as he can and is very hands-on. The park covers a large area of hills and valleys, trails, campsites, and wildlife. His park has a few central heavily trafficked areas and many more that are hardly visited. The park is open year-round but has periods where the weather means they get very few visitors.

Pauls goals for the park are:

  • Keeping visitors safe

  • Protecting wildlife in the park

  • Helping visitors find & explore less- visited areas

  • Getting visitors to care about nature

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Dani (29) works for a destination marketing organization in a mid-sized American city. She has a degree in marketing. Her agency provides marketing services for local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, museums, convention centers, visitor attractions, and more. Local businesses pay a small fee to appear on the "Visit City Tourism" website and have their events promoted. The agency also operates some tourist information centers around the city. digital information stands at key transportation hubs (airport, train station) The website has millions of annual visitors and now they want to develop a mobile version on a native app that will incorporate GPS. 

Dani's goals are:

  • Dispersing visitors to many different businesses throughout the city

  • Promoting lesser known attractions

  • Scale the number of customers 

  • Helping visitors to easily navigate the city and find what they are looking for

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Tina (43) is a senior member of her County Tourism Board. The county contains several small towns, and some rural areas and has a few historic preservation sites. She is under pressure to bring in more tourists and knows that adding more digitally available information is the best way to bring them in. However, her budget is set by the local government and getting approval for new projects is a frustrating and time-consuming process.

Tina's goals are:

  • Bring revenue to local businesses

  • Less stress at the office

  • Balance the needs of different stakeholders

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Fred (62) and his family run a farm in a rural area. The farm has many activities for families including a petting zoo, walking trails, picnic areas and a visitors center. The farm also hosts seasonal activities like hayrides and apple picking in the orchard in autumn. At present, visitors receive a hand-drawn photocopied map to help them navigate when they arrive at the farm. This is reprinted multiple times a year depending on the season. Fred would like to modernize and add digital solutions but doubts that there is anything out there in his price range that would suit a small business like his. It can be difficult to find enough staff where he lives and his needs are seasonal.


Fred's goals are: 

  • Hire more help on the "off season"

  • Letting people know what attractions are available - especially when these tend to change around different seasons

  • Create engaging experiences

  • Helping people find the different activities spread over a fairly large area

  • Doing all this on a small budget

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