Full Screen

User Personas

More Free Lessons in

Web Design, CRO and UX View All →

Get cutting-edge digital marketing skills, know-how and strategy

This micro lesson is from one of our globally recognized digital marketing courses.

Start a FREE Course Preview Start a FREE Course Preview
Global Authority

The Global Authority

12 years delivering excellence


245,000+ Members

Join a global community


Associate Certification

Globally recognised


Membership Included

Toolkits, content & more

Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Audiences and segments

When we talk about users, we are, of course, talking about customers, consumers, and humans, and it is unlikely that there will be a single type of customer or user for your project. We are likely to be dealing with a range of different audiences, each representing a different set of needs, goals, and motivations.


You may have encountered the idea of personas before in a marketing context. When we talk about personas in a UX context, we are more interested in behaviors rather than the demographics and segmentation that marketing specializes in. Once our research uncovers what these needs, goals, motivations, and user behaviors are, we can group them by common elements and translate them into user personas.

When authored effectively, personas can become an essential design tool. Knowing the characteristics of a persona in terms of the key criteria of needs, goals, motivations, and behaviors, design decision-making can be informed and given low-level validation from the persona.

At their worst, personas can be sketchy stereotypes which simply reflect the received wisdom throughout the organization. Personas can and should reflect research with real customers. They shouldn’t reflect the assumptions and skewed internal perspectives of the business.

Effective personas

Effective personas will have a number of key criteria:

  • Precise: Personas should be precise. They should leave no room for ambiguity.
  • Concise: They should be concise, containing only relevant information with no padding or superfluous detail.
  • Reflective of research: As far as possible, what is included in personas should have emerged from research undertaken.
  • Realistic: They should be realistic and feel authentic. They should not be the creation of the business. For instance, the ideal customer that the business would like to have.
  • Specific: The persona should include no generalizations.

Minimum viable persona

Personas put together for a project should be capable of answering the questions that will be asked of them. There is no point in containing extraneous detail that has no bearing on the project.

When putting together a suite or set or personas for a project, the number of personas should be kept to a minimum. This is likely to be somewhere between three and six personas depending on the nature of the project. The persona set selected should represent the majority of users of the website.

It will be impossible to represent all users. The reason for this is that there will always be age cases, even secondary or tertiary level personas, that will not bring value to the business. Remember that the goal is not to reflect all users and personas, but most users.

Back to Top
Rick Monro

Rick Monro is UX Director at Fathom. He has extensive experience in user research, interaction design, user-centered design, and design strategy with private and public sector organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Appraise practices for planning UX research
  • Critically evaluate the roles of innovation and users in User Experience (UX) research
  • Evaluate cognitive biases that can affect research data

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    If you are interested in learning about the principles of UX and the tools or techniques that you can use to develop and refine your user's experience, DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:

    DMI Short Course: UX Essentials

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      UX Research
      Rick Monro
      Skills Expert

      With the help of Rick Monro, you will develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective user experiences. You will learn how to think like a user in order to understand their priorities and needs, and you will recognize the role of various research and analytics techniques such as tree-testing, card-sorting, user-testing, user-surveys, Google Analytics and specialized tools such as Click-tale.