Websites and Platforms

Get a clear picture of your customer

As­pir­ing journ­al­ists have long been ad­vised to have a per­son they know in mind when writ­ing - today they design for #per­so­nas.

 

If you have a good col­league, a good friend or a fam­ily mem­ber in mind when writ­ing a text, you will hear ques­tions from that per­son like: What's the agenda of the politi­cian speak­ing in your art­icle? How can gaps in re­tire­ment sav­ings oc­cur in the first place? What does this mean for my situ­ation now? These are ques­tions that help the au­thor im­prove his or her own art­icle and ad­apt it as best as pos­sible to the needs of the read­er­ship. But they are also ques­tions that would most likely not have ar­is­en dur­ing the writ­ing pro­cess to such an ex­tent had the tar­get group of the pub­lic­a­tion been prop­erly con­sidered.

 

The de­cis­ive ques­tions at the right mo­ment

Just like the au­thor at work, per­so­nas help in the de­vel­op­ment of a new web­site or an in­teg­rated com­mu­nic­a­tion concept, be­cause we mostly con­ceive or design for an audi­en­ce, and not for ourselves. How de­sign­ers ar­rive at five to sev­en per­so­nas while en­rich­ing them with suf­fi­cient char­ac­ter­ist­ics is de­scribed in many books and blogs - the most rep­res­ent­at­ive of which is an art­icle by Hi­manshu Khanna. For the per­so­nas to be most ef­fect­ive, it is im­port­ant that they ac­com­pany you at work, that their pic­tures hang on the wall or atleast are set as a mon­it­or back­ground im­age. This way, they watch us at work and ask the cru­cial ques­tions at the right mo­ment.

When it came to design­ing a new web­site for a mu­seum, Yuki and Taro Shikibu from Nagoya had very dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments than the re­tired couple Maria and Hans Weiss from Zurich, who have an an­nu­al mem­ber­ship to the mu­seum and vis­it ex­hib­i­tions sev­er­al times a year with their grand­chil­dren. The vis­it­ors from Ja­pan want to see the high­lights, need the rel­ev­ant in­form­a­tion, from dir­ec­tions to dis­counts all in Eng­lish, and want to be able to read it com­fort­ably on their smart­phones. The art lov­ers from Zürich­berg, on the oth­er hand, are in­ter­es­ted in mem­ber events and from time-to-time would like to en­able their grand­chil­dren to vis­it age-ap­pro­pri­ate events in or­der to con­trib­ute to their cul­tur­al edu­ca­tion.

 

The right user jour­ney for each per­sona

With the help of the goals, habits and re­quire­ments of the vari­ous per­so­nas, the con­tent of the web­site could be se­lec­ted and struc­tured in such a way that a wide vari­ety of people could quickly nav­ig­ate their way around. And fi­nally, the user jour­neys de­signed for in­di­vidu­al per­so­nas lead to the type of an­swers that po­ten­tial vis­it­ors re­ceive that could turn them in­to ac­tu­al vis­it­ors to the mu­seum.

In­cid­ent­ally, the per­sona concept was in­ven­ted neither by a journ­al­ist nor a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­al, but by the Amer­ic­an soft­ware de­ve­loper Alan Cooper, who in the 1980s was look­ing for a way to make his com­puter pro­grams more user-friendly. In ad­di­tion to the Design Sprint, this is an­oth­er ex­ample of how meth­ods from oth­er dis­cip­lines can also be used in con­tent mar­ket­ing.