Quick Wins

4 min read

How to Build User Personas in 4 Days

Building your product without creating your personas first is a mistake, but how long do you need to spend on it? Can you do it in just a few days, making sure that your time and budget are optimised, without compromising on the quality of the final work?

In this short video, Stef explains how to build the perfect user personas in just 4 days, for any project.

So – user personas research! I love it. It’s invaluable and gives designers and product people the right perspective for building and improving the product. The purpose of user personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments, so you can use them as a reference when making product and business decisions, designing, marketing, and everything else. Building a product without creating user personas is a mistake!

However, I keep seeing fellow UX designers and founders spending weeks, sometimes even months, on research, user interviews, interviews with stakeholders, etc. to create the perfect, most realistic user persona. Why do they do that? I wish I had a respectful answer for that, but I don’t.

From my experience, building user personas shouldn’t take more than 4-5 days, and if you follow the right steps, you’ll still have accurate and extremely useful results. So, what are the right steps?

  1. Use and analyse the demographics data you have on current users. Things like age, location, occupation, and interests are ready for you. This can be found in the Demographics section in Google analytics, social media channels, and in any customer data you have.
  2. Speak to stakeholders and customer support staff or anyone who deals directly with the end-user. This is extremely important, and I’m often surprised that decision-makers underestimate the valuable insights support and admin staff can provide.
  3. Do competitive research and get to know the users of the closest competitors. Ideally, they’d be ahead of the game and would already have an established brand and a strong product.
  4. Conduct interviews with users. This is the most time-consuming process, as arranging interviews might stretch over a longer period of time, so scheduling these should start as soon as you’ve started the project. However, you only need 4-5 people to get a good understanding of their main pain points and build your personas. Anything more than that is welcome and will surely help, but if resources and time don’t allow it, it’s just not necessary.

So, if you follow the right process, and you’re organised with your research, in reality you don’t need more than 4-5 days to build the perfect user personas for almost any product.

If you found this post useful, you will also like Every UX Project Should Start with These 10 Questions.