• Design

How to work out ideal user profiles / personas

Written by Alex Curtis

“What do my customers want?”

It’s something every business wants to know.

While customer needs are constantly changing, past strategies and last year’s sales reports may not necessarily give you the right answer.

Locking down the ideal user personas for your business can provide a good understanding of what your website visitors seek in your products and services – as well as the motivations behind their actions.

Instead of guessing what your audience might like, let’s take a look at creating a structured user profile example.

Developing a user persona should focus on realistic people

Before we start, what is a user persona and why are they useful?

A user persona – otherwise known as a customer profile – is a fictional representation of your real world customers. It is a consolidated document containing the customer’s interests, background, personality and various other details.

These ‘character’ profiles are then used to make web decisions with the users in mind throughout, to complement your use of data in working out your web approach.

Asking yourself questions on whether or not a customer will engage is made much easier to visualize once this sort of profile is in place.

For exampleWill John be interested in our premium package?

                     Will Mary engage with a more modern web design?

                     Is Bob likely to watch our video tutorials?

Using this approach allows you to make web design decisions with your users at their heart every step of the way. It not only saves you on development costs, but improves your target marketing strategies and user experience.

Creating the ideal customer profile

Begin by collecting as much real world data on your customers through user research (see blogs on UX research and surveys). While it may seem fun to make up customer traits, acquiring accurate data is crucial.

Create a document or PowerPoint slide containing the following:

  • Name: Can me a memorable made up name or the actual customer name.
  • Photo: Putting a face to a name helps visualize and recall the profile easier.
  • Background/Bio: This can range from hobbies and interests to job title and daily functions
  • Demographics: Includes attributes such age, sex, location and income bracket.
  • Personality traits: Includes habits e.g. ’tends to research and compare products before purchasing.’
  • Motivations: Understand what drives the customer e.g. is the user career driven? Seeks new opportunities and adventures?
  • Goals/Frustrations: Goals defined here should align with your business. Are they looking to improve a software skill e.g. Will your SaaS product help them achieve this goal?
  • Preferences: Does the customer shop for high end products? Are they keen on particular brands?


Tip: It’s useful to blend quantitative and qualitative data in construction of your user profiles – otherwise you might find that you are prioritising your non-paying users due to their quantity, for example.

Consider the above as a starting point. Ideally a user persona should be customized to your business goals rather than basing it off your competitors. Working out the ideal customer will also contribute toward your A/B testing initiatives when it comes to finding actual users to test your product or service. Conducting this workshop will help you adapt and grow your business to the ever changing needs and demands of your user base.