Personas are fictitious users of a product or service that represent the needs of larger groups of people, in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. They act as ‘stand-ins’ for real people and help guide decisions about functionality and design.
Personas identify the motivations, expectations and goals responsible for driving behaviour, and bring users to life by giving them names, personalities and often a photo.
Although personas are fictitious, they are based on knowledge of real people. Some form of research is conducted before they are written to ensure they represent genuine end-users rather than the opinion of the person writing the personas.
By generating insight and better expectations on how these profiles will likely behave in a given context of use, these profiles and personas allow us to increase our understanding of people’s requirements.