Putting personas to work

Keeping personas alive and putting them to good use was the focus for a presentation at the Web Publishers’ Community.

We gave a brief introduction to personas, what they are and why we use them and highlighted some of the persona projects that we’ve been involved with over the past few years.

As a result, the University has a whole family of personas who represent some of our key user groups including prospective postgraduate students, undergraduates, visiting undergraduates, parents and – specifically for the University Website Programme – the users of our content management system.

Gallery of our undergraduate personas

If you’ve been involved in developing personas you’ll know that it can be very interesting to think so closely about your users, and even exciting, especially the moment when your personas are complete and ‘come to life’!

But that is just the beginning: how do you put your personas to work?

We highlighted just a few tips, techniques and activities that we’ve used to embed personas into everyday work practices, such as:

  • Familiarisation exercises – writing reviews, behavioural matrices, and identifying the business goals for each persona
  • Research – user testing and competitor analysis
  • Reporting – expressing findings, scorecard evaluation and monitoring
  • Planning and prioritising – telling stories of experiences, persona-weighted feature prioritization, expressing different requirements, challenging new development ideas


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