A client was creating an internal company credit card management product. Before beginning design, they wanted to understand their target users. So I ran a two-month User Research study, then I synthesized the resulting notes and data into 3 personas.
- User research
- Persona creation
Before conducting the research, my client had planned to make an extremely simple system. One so simple that none of the clients I interviewed could have used it.
I provided suggestions on how to minimize feature development while also adding some of the critical features for their users. That’s also how I ranked the personas, and why I recommended not supporting the tertiary persona.
Eye-opening Research Process
When the client’s team sat in on calls, they often wanted to immediately make changes – based on just that interview alone. So my role also included helping them with patience for the research process.
They also expressed surprise at how deep I was going with the clients. Many thought they merely needed to say:
- “Do you like this feature?”
- “Great! How about this feature?”
As they began to hear about deeper user needs, they began to see why research was important. Hearing that the features they had in mind not only wouldn’t meet their users’ needs, but that they had more important challenges to solve, was eye-opening for them.
This persona had the easiest problems to solve; their needs could be easily met by the client team, to give them an early and fast win. They were also most open to changing providers (e.g. to my client) to solve their issues. Last, they were [happily!] the largest population in the study. That’s why I recommended they be the primary target persona.
They were currently solving their major challenges with copious notes about how to do everything, and many manual processes. Good design would solve many of those challenges, so they would be pretty easy to target. But they were moderately averse to changing providers, saying things like: “Another system to learn!?” They were also a smaller part of the market. So I made it clear in the writeup and presentation that I recommended they be secondary targets.
Their needs and goals were extremely complicated, and almost entirely based around phone calls (hard for the client’s current team to improve). They also weren’t a large part of the market, and were very unwilling to change providers. So I recommended not targeting this persona for quite a while.