Kami PeoPLe
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Kami PeoPLe

Persona In Software Development

Know thy personas.

This article is written as a part of Individual Review competency for Software Projects course 2020 at Faculty of Computer Science, University of Indonesia.

Courtesy of https://econsultancy.com/customer-personas/

Introduction

Every software product is unique in regards of their respective target users. Not every software is developed for every type of users. Some characteristics of users would fit of being the target for the said software, while some would not. With this in mind, how would software developer design the software in order to fulfill the criteria spawned by certain characteristics of the target users?

This is where user personas come in.

Customer Persona

A user persona is a factious representation of a user with a certain set of characteristics. Personas do not represent real users, but instead they are constructed based on real data collected from multiple individuals/users, creating a unified representation of a certain user.

Personas help the development team in understanding users’ needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals. They also help us pinpoint which parts of the software that need some extra care in designing and developing them. Among many benefits, personas help the team into achieving the goal of creating a good user experience for the target users.

Aspects of a User Persona

No different than any design principles, there are many criteria that a good user persona should have. According to 99designs.com, a good user persona should consist of:

  1. Name: as user persona is fictitious, you could name your persona with any name you like, including from an actual user.
  2. Photo: any photo of a real person should do well, but a good persona should avoid having photo from a celebrity, renowned person, or other familiar face as they could bring connotations and assumptions. The idea is that the persona should represent a fresh, original identity.
  3. Personal quote/motto: to flesh out the persona.
  4. Bio: a backstory to make the persona more relatable, even if it’s fictional. Every tiny details given to this part could influence any strategic choices during the development process.
  5. Demographics: include age, sex, income, location, etc. that are relevant to the industry.
  6. Personality traits: this is one of the most important aspects as this would influence crucial design decisions along the way.
  7. Motivations: this helps the team to understand what drives the user in using the product.
  8. Goals: the objective that the user would want to fulfill. Having this information, every decisions should lead to fulfilling said goals.
  9. Frustrations: the challenges the user would like to avoid. Thus, the decisions that are made should have direct impacts in eliminating the frustrations.

Implementation of Persona in Software Projects Course 2020

In Software Projects course 2020 (widely known as Proyek Perangkat Lunak/PPL 2020), alongside my team, I have been working on a web application named HafidzIsMe. In the beginning of the project, our Product Manager gave us three user personas, each represent a certain type of target user: Participant/Student, Teacher, and Admin. Each persona has different aspects that vary from each other.

Participant/Student persona

Participant/Student persona

In the persona description above, it is stated that her only frustration is the less-responsiveness of the existing system. Moreover in her bio, she has a sole goal of studying in the program, so she does not want to be involved in a difficult system. It can be inferred that the persona wants a more responsive and easy-to-use system.

Teacher persona

Teacher persona

In the persona description above, we can see that she had difficulties in organizing participant assessments and does not want to waste a lot of time. Judging by the frustrations given, it is clear that user wants an easy-to-use system and “straight-to-the-point” experience in organizing participants assessments.

Admin persona:

Admin persona

The admin user had an irritation on the complex management processes from the existing system. Thus, she wants a system that is easy to use that can simplify the management processes, increasing her effectiveness as an admin.

Conclusion

Persona is a helpful concept in guiding every crucial decisions in designing and constructing every software product. In short, persona gives a better understanding on the target users. Thus, helping the team to bring a good user experience (and interface, too).

This wraps up the article. If you have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to comment :)

Thanks for reading!

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Dari PeoPLe untuk Umat — Writings from PPL 2020 B5

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