UI/UX Design

A Guide for Creating Personas for Lean UX

06 Dec 2017

6 mins read


Traditionally, companies created products based on demographics and market segmentation with features and functionality catering to a larger group. But customers are demanding that the products and services cater to their desires. Customers also don’t have loyalty to a specific company.

Today’s business owners personalize customer needs to keep customer retention. To do this, they must identify their needs and solution to their pain points. For this, they must create personas through market research rather than just demographic data.

What is a Persona?

The word persona comes from the Latin word for mask. In the word’s everyday usage, a persona is a social role or a character played by an actor. 

Alan Cooper developed the concept of a persona in his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum. In this book, Cooper outlines the general characteristics, uses, and best practices for creating personas, recommending that software is designed for single archetypal users. 

Now, what is a persona for lean UX?

When personas were first introduced, they were heavily researched so that they could be sent to the company’s leadership as a report for better understanding. They are time-consuming and expensive. Especially for companies with a small budget or who don’t believe much in UX research (believe us, there are a lot of companies like that!). For companies like these, proto-personas are the best way to go ahead.

Persona for lean UX (proto-persona) is a concise version of the persona report. They are created during the brainstorming session when deciding who will use the product or service.  These are the starter version of actual personas. They aren’t based on accurate data, but they are an excellent way to start thinking about the end-user on every project.

They help in the strategic planning of the product or service. This concept is best used when Lean UX methodology is used.

How to create personas?

All you need are the following:

  1. This Persona Template printed out
  2. Couple of Sharpies, pens, or pencils
  3. Stakeholders and team members
  4. A couple of hours

Lean UX persona is divided into four segments:

  1. Sketch of the Persona: A rough sketch of the persona.
  2. Behavior & Demographic: A little background about the persona. For example, what he likes/dislikes, where he is from and where he lives etc…
  3. Pain Points & Needs: What the persona wants in the product or service. Does he need that feature?
  4. Potential Solutions: What solution can the companies provide to their customers?

Validation of the persona created

Validate the customers’ pain points and potential solutions collected through different UX research methods.  Keep updating the personas, as user research will uncover the characteristics of a real customer.

How do personas help us make better decisions?

When personas are created, they help companies visualize the user experience from the customer’s point of view. Creating user stories humanizes the purpose of a product or service. Personas give companies an understanding and connection with their customers’ needs, which helps make an informed decision. Especially if it is a startup trying to figure out the right target customers, they can understand their users and pivot based on the user persona created.

The following are the reasons why we need personas:

  1. So we don’t end up designing the product or service for ourselves
  2. So we don’t add features that the customers won’t use
  3. We design the product or service for the right customers. For example, if we design an app for Night Club, it should be interactive and young instead of showing pictures of wine and cheese.

What’s Next

Idea Theorem™ is an award-winning design & development agency based in North America. Through our empathy-driven approach, we have crafted digital products that have positively impacted over 10 million users. Our mission is to shape the digital future by delivering exceptional experiences. Contact Us if you have any questions; we will gladly help you.

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