How do we ensure that our Web sites actually give users what they need? What are the best ways to understand our users' goals, behaviors, and attitudes, and then turn that understanding into business results? Personas bring user research to life and make it actionable, ensuring we're making the right decisions based on the right information. This practical guide explains how to create and use personas to make your site more successful. "The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas" takes you through each step of persona creation, including tips for conducting qualitative user research, new ways to apply quantitative research (such as surveys) to persona creation, various methods for generating persona segmentation, and proven techniques for making personas realistic. You'll also learn how to use personas effectively, from directing overall business strategy and prioritizing features and content to making detailed decisions about information architecture, content, and design.
Review By: K. Rhodes 06/15/2010"The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas" is a great resource for anyone looking to improve an existing Web site or just starting from scratch. It gets you back to the basics of what you are trying to achieve and who your site is targeting. By creating personas, you identify the different types of customers you are trying to reach through your Web site by looking at the different roles they play—with the ultimate goal of making your site more successful. The book takes you through each step of persona creation, including qualitative user research and quantitatively validating your research (such as surveys and focus groups), persona creation, different methods for generating persona segmentation, and practical and proven techniques for making personas realistic. Using these personas effectively can help focus the design and usability of your site based on your business strategy for each audience.
It’s easy to build your Web site design and usability around what you want your customers to do. Web sites are more successful when they are created with real people in mind. You have to get to know their needs, attitudes, and quirks through surveys and focus groups to get the heart of what they want. Just ask them. Whether your budget is large or small, the author presents various options to gather information from your users and how to put it to good use. This easy-to-follow, practical guide further describes how to keep your personas alive and active as the market changes. This should be an ongoing process that is evaluated routinely. It also shows others who have successfully developed their business strategies around these personas. Using the needs of each persona can help direct the scope, structure, content, design, development, and testing of your Web site, but the process isn't complete without measuring your success. You need a way to verify that the personas you create are valid and useful. This book helps you determine measures to test before and after your site’s launch. In the end, your site will be successful if you understand what your users are looking for and how to deliver it to them.