When designing any product or service for people, it’s essential you keep people at the center of the design.
One of the key ways to assure people are at the center of your design process is to create personas. Personas are fictional people based of an amalgam of people in your target user group. You create personas because they remind you who you are creating your product and service for. They need to look and feel and it’s best to use photos of actual people to represent the personas. Do not use photos of people that are well known or that people on the project known, this can become a distraction and create an incorrect bias in the design.
To create your personas it’s best to gather as much data as possible about your target user group. First you want to segment your target users into groups that make sense for your product, it could be into demographics like age, race, gender, etc, or into other categories like job roles, relationship status, hobbies, etc. Your team must decided what’s best. If possible you can survey and interview people from your target user group and use information from those to humanize your personas more.
During each stage of the design process you talk about design decisions referencing the personas. For example if you had a persona named Joseph, you would say, “Joseph is trying connect with his friends, so he presses this button.” This helps to humanize the users and make sure that empathy is at the center of the design. It’s not a fail proof method, but it’s extremely helpful and one of the easiest and most basic things you can add to your design process to make sure your designs are successful among your targeted users.
I have made many personas through out my career. Here are some example of personas I have created. None the people are real. I created these personas with Adobe Illustrator.