I am going to start out giving you an example of an effective persona that helps you visualize an individual that potentially is in your website audience.
- Key Goals
- Get relevant information quickly
- Visualize the field trip
- Understand the pricing, travel time, and what the operating hours are
- We Must
- Clearly show location/directions, operating hours, and pricing.
- Show descriptive yet concise information what education benefit WonderLab can provide
- Use images to help her visualize the trip
- Visual learner
- Is easily distracted by students
- Easily influenced by pricing, travel time, and operating hours
- We Must Never
- Overload her with irrelevant information
- Make it difficult to access information about pricing, travel time, or operating hours
I will not go into much detail as these categories are pretty easy to understand how to create, but the important thing is that most websites have multiple users with entirely different personas. See, once you place all of these personas together you can begin to see patterns emerge to inform you what similarities they have. Those similarities should primarily drive your content and structure of your website.
With our one persona that we created, we know that she likes fast access to information, which means we probably shouldn’t create a website with a lot of depth. We might create a broad navigational system where she will not have to click more than 2 or 3 links from any page to reach another page. We know that she likes to see important information like location, directions, operating hours, and pricing. We might consider placing that in a sidebar to clearly portray that information on every page, which means she will find that information on every page. Finally, we notice that she loves images, which means we should provide a lot of graphics to complement the text. Of course, personas might conflict, but you should attempt to produce the best possible fit for your website to all of the different personas. This is precisely where the Information Architecture field turns into more of an art than a science. Use your best judgement, and always remember your users are what is the most important to the success of your website.