Developing personalized User Experiences through Prototyping

When you think of prototyping, creating a personalized experience may not come top of mind. But if you’re looking to create a sophisticated experience for your users, having enhanced functionality and adaptability for user preferences is becoming the better option versus a one-size fits all approach.
 
Although a single approach can be applied across a whole user base, this strategy can be very limiting. Individual people have different personalities, behavior traits, and characteristics. Every user doesn’t have the same preferences, so personalization is required to help meet those expectations and increase actionable outcomes.
 
Prototyping basics
Think about the design you want to achieve. Ideally you should have insights and data about your customer base. This is essential before you start building out a customizable prototype. Insights can come from developing personas, user journeys, and testing. This will help you define what areas of personalization will need focus.
 
Who are your customers and what are their likes and dislikes? Planning these likely scenarios will help you build out robust prototypes. Personalization can be a way where you can empathically communicate to your customers and ensure that you’re tailoring your design strategy to suit individual needs.
 
Discover your audience
Audiences are classified as different groups of customers for that you would like to deliver a customizable experience to. An audience that can perform an actionable function is considered to be of value. To target these users, you have to look at qualitative and quantitative data to help drive a personalization strategy.

Develop personas
A persona is a qualitative description of a visitor to your website. It’s a model that describes the needs and reservations of your targeted customer with some context of their perceived behavior.
 
Some areas that you might want to think about when designing your prototype is:
- What are the business-critical behaviors that personalization efforts will accelerate?
- Motivational factors that drive your users to complete an action.
- Brand loyalty and a level of familiarity with the product, service or website that a user would do to complete a transaction.
- Are there any barriers or hesitations that would prevent a user from using the service you’re providing?

Target different attributes
Behavioral attributes can be divided into categories of current and past behavior. If you’re creating wires for a site, you may look at why a certain segment of users who abandoned the shopping cart before they completed the transaction process. You may base your design decisions on the needs of customers who exhibited near-conversion behavior.
 
Contextual attributes help describe the environment that your users are responding to. A user may have a preference to browse a website from their mobile phone. Then a design with a quick call-to-action with a phone number might be appropriate. Whatever UX decisions you make, it needs to be logical to the environment that your users are operating within.
 
Understanding the demographics is another attribute that you need to be mindful of when creating personalized experiences. Demographic data can be particularly useful in determining if it will be highly actionable. Everything from location, age, gender and income play a big part in developing a customizable experience.
 
Plan experiences and start prototyping
Once you discovered all the elements that can make up a personalization strategy, you’ll need to look at how to execute this experience. The discovery process has allowed you to collect all of your data and make assumptions on how you would tailor an experience for each user group.

The next step is to understand how the value proposition resonates with the audience. Have you addressed all of their needs? Personas and historical data should inform prototype ideation. Map out the experiences and have a few options. The prototyping process gives an opportunity to try new things and allows you to be inventive at the same time. From there you’ll be on your way to creating a well-honed personalization strategy.

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