I'm actually working on the redesign for a online car reseller. Actually I created 4 Personas based on our latest Focus-group and our data from Analytics. Today I presented the personas to the head of sales. She pointed out, that there are some more user groups on our website. I know that usually a number of 3 personas is ideal and now I'm asking how I can move on.
How do you handle the number of personas? and how do you decide which clients should be represented as a persona?
This phrase occurs again and again in UX: "It depends"
It's really dependant on the number of personality facets you need to align to and the depth you want your service to appeal to.
You don't need a Persona for each personality trait. Personality traits can be combined into a single persona.
I've worked with as few as two to as many as seven.
Like many things in UX, it depends on your solution and how you are creating your persona, e.g. are you researching real users or basing them on roles or job titles?
Alan Cooper's book "About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design" devotes a whole chapter to persona and the persona creation process (Chapter 5 Modelling Users: Persona and Goals). He talks about 7 steps: - Step 1: Identify behavioural variables - Step 2: Map interview subjects to behavioural variables - Step 3: Identify significant behaviour patterns - Step 4: Synthesise characteristics and relevant goals - Step 5: Check for completeness and redundancy - Step 6: Expand description of attributes and behaviours - Step 7: Designate persona types
He talks about 5 persona types, and without going into detail here, Cooper states there should be 1 primary persona type per interface for a product, but it is possible for some products (especially enterprise products) to have multiple distinct interfaces each targeted at a distinct primary persona type.
So if you want to create persona properly so that it is evidence based, Cooper's book can help you.
Nothing is constant in the market: Your personas will change over time.
The key is to start putting personas to work in your product now, knowing that you'll have another group to address tomorrow.
As you assess interview findings, the majority groups will surface. There's always more nuance to be discovered, but don't let "paralysis by analysis" slow you down. Start working with the ones you know now and keep evaluating the other groups for future reference.
Assuming you follow an iterative approach to the product, then each "release" should focus on one or two personas at most. If the top three personas are defined, then you're ready to get started!
It's tempting to solve for everyone every time (especially for Sales ;-).
That will end one of two ways:
Don't try to do all the things. You need to focus on one or two personas for each release or iteration. If you include multiple personas in an iteration, it should revolve around needs overlap not your design to make them all happy.
For the record, this is a myth:
a number of 3 personas is ideal
Ideal for what? For the designer who doesn't want to think about more than three?
For a narrowly focused product with a small market, you may only have a few.
For a broader, mass-appeal product you may have a dozen or more.
When deciding if you have the right number, consider these points:
One disclaimer on points 2 & 3: Overlapping concerns are legal, but it's the sum of the parts that makes a persona unique.