Product starts and ends with design. Many times, the design process starts with a series of questions:
- What do you want to build? (Product, service, etc.)
- Who is building something similar?
- Who are you building it for?
From here, every line you draw and decision you make has to be optimized for the best user experience. Understanding your target customer is the key for building a product people will value.
What appeals to an individual is strongly driven from personal hopes and fears. The key in defining a target customer is to identify a specific individual who carries the traits of a group of your potential customers. This is called a persona. A persona helps you dig deeper to understand personal motivators behind what makes target customers make a certain decisions - should I buy this? should I share this? should i use this?. Creating a persona will help you focus all your product-driven decisions towards your biggest value - a real customer using your product.
Knowing your persona will help you define your branding language, drive the main features and actions in the user flow, as well as validate your choices and assumptions through testing.
1. Define potential target customers
The process of defining a persona starts with traditional research on market segmentation or from existing data if you already have recorded metrics from real customers. Exploring your competitors' product and identifying their customers is important. Also, remember that many of your team-members have valuable information about existing users, e.g. a customer support specialist spends her time solving problems of real customers.
2. Define the questions
The success of the interviewing your users will be largely determined by the questions you ask. To evaluate what information is most needed, think of your knowledge gaps, which details would best inform your design decisions, and what your team members are curious to find out. Here’s a simple cheatsheet of most common persona questions (download).
3. Conduct interviews
Once you’ve defined what information you need to know, it’s time for conversations. Talking face-to-face is the best type of user research you can do. Sometimes the best insight you can get is from the person’s reactions, gestures, and body language.
4. Analyze data
When you have interviewed different groups people, e.g. doctors, nurses and technicians, compare their data roles. For example, compare a doctor’s answers to another doctor instead of a nurse. Grouping people based on a common value will help you keep the focus in creating the personas.
5. Create a persona chart
It’s important that you structure out the information analyzed and share it with the other team members as everyone in your team should have a clear understanding who is the end user and a document to rely on when making decisions in their work. You can get a simple persona chart here (download).
Who needs a persona?
Every company does. It doesn’t matter how many users you have or how well you think you know them. As a new company it’s important to know who you’re building your product for. For an existing business knowing your target customer inside out gives you an advantage in developing and selling the existing product and choosing paths for innovation and growth.
At Koneksa, we speak to our target users on a weekly basis. Whether it is patients, sponsor clinical directors, or site Principle Investigators, we want to know how we can continue to make their lives better.
By Liis Peetermann, Lead Designer at Koneksa Health