Using Personas in Web Design - Adpearance

Using Personas in Web Design

Reach and convert the right customers using personas to inform your website strategy. A user-centered web design that prioritizes usability and utility along with the visuals ensures your website doesn’t just look beautiful, but also ranks highly in search results, engages prospective customers, and converts high-quality leads.

Understanding Personas

Personas act as stand-ins for the actual customers you want to connect with and guide decisions about functionality, design, and marketing. As a design tool, they are a powerful way to communicate customer behaviors, goals, wants, needs, and frustrations, helping designers and stakeholders to maintain focus.

Personas are especially critical for larger website projects with intricate needs and many sets of helping hands. Project designers, developers, business owners, and stakeholders can refer back to the personas to solidify goals, expedite decision-making, and ensure a more successful final product. 

When we help clients create personas, the result is a well-researched document that answers the following questions:

  • Who is this person? What is their name, occupation, salary, location, and age? This includes pictures of the persona and other relevant details you know about this type of customer. 
  • What are their goals? What do they want to accomplish? What information do they need to achieve this goal?
  • What are their pain points? What causes them frustration? Have they interacted with the brand before? If so, how will their previous experience influence their behaviors or play into their frustrations? What information do they lack that might make this process more difficult? Are there any technological frustrations that could cause them to leave your website before converting?

Creating Personas

A company could spend months interviewing customers and building in-depth documentation based on qualitative and quantitative data, but effective user personas aren’t exclusive to big brands with big budgets. You can use time and resource-efficient methods and still create an extremely useful set of data.

Build Initial Assumptive Personas

Get the ball rolling by creating assumptive personas based on what you already know about your audience. Brainstorm with colleagues and company stakeholders to paint a picture of your assumptive personas by working through questions like:

  • Who are our current customers? Describe their demographics and how they interact with your business. Do they primarily interact by phone, in person, over chat, etc.? What is the ratio of new versus returning customers? How many are referrals? How do they describe your brand in customer feedback and online reviews? What do they value from a brand?
  • Who do we want our future customers to be? Discuss what audiences you feel are currently being ignored or put off by the website. What are their demographics? How are they different from current customers? How are they currently being ignored by the website?

Who are our competitors’ customers? Are they the same as your current or future customers? How are they different? How is your competition doing a better or worse job engaging these customers online?

Validate the Personas with Supporting Data

Once you have assumptive personas from your initial brainstorm, you need to validate the personas with research with existing data and possibly collect new information.

  • Website analytics: Here you’ll find not only demographic information, but also information about returning vs. new users, devices, channel attribution, and engagement with your site.
  • E-commerce analytics: If your website is an e-commerce platform, you should look at how popular top-selling items are compared to other items, how often they are ordered, and if users order them multiple times. Look at abandoned cart data and customers that failed to complete a purchase to determine common pain points or weaknesses. You can also compare your analytics to buyer behavior and relevant benchmarks in your industry. 
  • Audience estimation tools: There are a variety of audience estimation tools you can use to mine insights about your customers and find similar websites relevant to your users.
  • Online reviews: If your website has a comment section, what are the users saying to your company about their needs and desires? Look to third-party sites like Google Business Profiles and Yelp to learn why customers may or may not recommend your company.
  • Social media: If you don’t already monitor social media for brand mentions, now is the time to start. Search relevant platforms for mentions of your company’s name, products, services, or related hashtags. 
  • Customer interviews: If your timeline and budget can accommodate it, gathering first-hand feedback is extremely valuable. A trained interviewer, a private facility or room, time to find relevant customers, and time to analyze the qualitative data are a strong investment in your website’s success. 
Producing Your Final Personas

Create meaningful personas for your website by pairing your assumptive personas and the story your research tells. Move beyond simple demographics to include the needs and motivations of your target customer. Don’t let yourself get stuck on small details like names and photos. Use a uniform template for all your personas that answers who, what, when, where, and how in regards to their engagement with your website.

What’s New

Launching a new website can seem daunting, but with a clear and organized plan, it will be a success. Reach out for a free website analysis to learn more about how Adpearance can help reach your target audience and convert more leads.

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About the Author

Marisa De Maria

Marisa tackles our clients' most difficult website projects. As a program manager, she uses the latest technological solutions to find successful, efficient, and budget-friendly solutions.

Adpearance is the digital marketing company obsessed with generating quality leads. Our solutions combine cutting-edge technology, premium tracking, and an expert team to transform business results.

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