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User persona templates

Learn more about your users

Provide an invaluable boost to your UX strategy by developing a deeper understanding of your target audience.

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Last updated

29 May 2023

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Dovetail Editorial Team

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User persona templates can provide an invaluable boost to any UX strategy. Developing a deeper understanding of your target audience allows your product teams to create a more personalized user experience.

We’re going to discuss the benefits of user persona templates, provide examples, and give you free templates. These will help you incorporate user personas into your product or service development. Let’s get into it.

What is a user persona?

User personas are fictional representations of your target audience. You create these through rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, like interviews, surveys, observations, and data analytics. 

You shouldn’t invent user personas from assumptions, as you risk missing the mark. It’s best to update and shape your personas regularly to build empathy for your target audience. 

Overall, user personas provide a more comprehensive understanding of your typical users segmented by their behavior, allowing you to design and develop products or services that meet their specific needs, expectations, and challenges. 

What’s the difference between buyer and user personas?

While companies create user personas for UX design and product development, buyer personas are for marketing and sales efforts. Both stem from research and data analysis but serve different purposes in distinct contexts. 

User personas inform product development and design decisions, while buyer personas guide marketing approaches. For example, you may advertise your product differently by age group, gender, or other demographics. 

A company's marketing and user experience teams typically create a user persona with customer research experts. Meanwhile, the sales and marketing teams create a buyer persona to understand the buying process and customer preferences. 

Although they may overlap in the information they gather, a user persona represents a typical product or service user, focusing on their behaviors, needs, and goals. 

User personas include a detailed description of the customer's: 

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Income

  • Interests

  • Needs

  • Pain points 

  • Product goals 

A buyer persona is also a fictional representation of a specific type of customer. It specifically targets the characteristics and motivations of those who are likely to make a purchase.

The buyer persona includes information on the customer’s: 

  • Job title

  • Industry

  • Company size

  • Budget

  • Decision-making process

  • Challenges

While user and buyer personas differ, both help businesses identify and understand their customers. It can inform the creation of products that align with customer expectations and challenges. 

Ultimately, they both provide data to uncover growth opportunities and improve the customer experience.  

What is a user persona template?

User personas derive from a lengthy process of collecting and analyzing data on user groups. A template provides a framework to make the process a little easier. It helps product teams gather relevant information about the user group to build an accurate persona. 

A template typically includes fields for demographics, behavior patterns, and motivations. A user persona template can streamline the process and ensure you include all necessary information. It can also maintain consistency across your personas and make them easier to share with your team.  

Forms of user persona templates

User persona templates come in many formats, from simple spreadsheets to elaborate designs. 

Ultimately, the best template for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Luckily, many free templates are available online that you can customize to fit your requirements.

Here are various template types:

Spreadsheet template

A user persona template can be as basic as an Excel sheet or Word document. It just needs to include multiple columns for information like demographics, behavior, pain points, and goals. 

It's simple to use and navigate and provides an overview of all the data in one place.

Creative sketch template

This template is for visual learners. It features a drawing of a human figure where you can add specific details about the user. 

It has space for notes, personality traits, preferences, behaviors, and other relevant information.

Storyboard template

A storyboard template uses storytelling techniques to depict a user's journey, thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout a process. 

This format is best for designing customer journeys. You can add graphics, notes, and comments to this template.

Persona canvas

A persona canvas is an elaborate, in-depth format that uses visual components to explain user characteristics, challenges, behaviors, motivations, goals, and objectives. 

Marketers and designers typically use it to craft user profiles that align with customer insights.

Character profile template

A character profile template is used in storytelling or screenwriting to create a fictional character’s background. 

It identifies specific attributes such as appearance, personality traits, quirks, motivations, goals, and conflicts. This format can create unique characters that are memorable and authentic.

Online persona template

An online persona template is a virtual representation of an ideal customer. 

This approach to creating customer profiles relies on data and insights, allowing businesses to create targeted marketing campaigns and user-centered products and services.

How to write a user persona

Creating user personas is a vital component of a successful UX strategy. 

User personas enable you to understand your target audience, their motivations, and their pain points, so you can create a more personalized experience. 

Knowing your target user's key characteristics, needs, and goals can help you create a profile to guide decisions throughout the product development process. 

Step 1: Define your persona type

To start creating a user persona: 

  • Decide on the type of persona to create

  • Determine what you want to achieve by creating the persona

  • Figure out what questions you want to answer

  • Plan how you’ll use this information for your product design

Types of persona include:

The real-life persona

This type of user persona gains insights into a specific target audience based on existing customers' experiences and behaviors. 

Using real people as examples, it looks like a typical profile with a picture, name, demographics, goals, motivations, and pain points.

The aspirational persona

This is an idealized version of a potential customer to gain a better understanding of the target audience's desires and goals.

The anti-persona

This type of user persona paints a picture of someone who does not reflect the target audience or holds negative characteristics or undesirable qualities to avoid.  

It helps designers and marketers avoid designing for the wrong audience or making assumptions that don’t align with their users' values.

Step 2: Gather data

To create an effective user persona, you need data. Gathering relevant data is essential for understanding your users and accurately representing them. 

You can use different methods of data collection, such as user interviews, surveys, and social media analytics, just to name a few.

Let's take a closer look at some of the most popular methods.

Surveys

Surveys are a great way to collect mostly quantitative data. You can send surveys to existing users or potential customers, asking them about their demographics, behaviors, preferences, and more.

Interviews

Interviews allow you to gather more in-depth information about your users’ motivations, goals, pain points, and more. You can interview in person, via video call, or over the phone.

Analytics

Analytics tools can help you track user behavior on your website or app. You can gather data on things like the pages they visit, how long they stay, and where they drop off.

Social media

Social media is a valuable resource for gathering qualitative data. You can monitor conversations about your product and gain insights into user attitudes and behaviors.

Customer support

Customer support interactions can provide valuable information about your users. You can analyze the types of questions they ask, the problems they encounter, and the solutions they need.

Step 3: Create your user persona

Once you have all the relevant information, it's time to create your user persona. 

This involves creating a fictional character that represents your target audience. 

Give the persona: 

  • A name

  • Photo

  • Backstory

  • Job title

  • Hobbies

You want to create a detailed persona to understand the customer better.

Demographic details

These details will help you paint a clear picture of your ideal customer and include:

  • Name

  • Age

  • Occupation

  • Education level

  • Income

  • Family status

Identify pain points and goals

Identify your user persona's pain points and goals. Consider the challenges and obstacles your customers face and their ultimate goals. 

For example, if you're a fitness brand, your user persona may struggle to find time to exercise, but their ultimate goal is to live a healthier lifestyle.

Add behavioral characteristics

Adding these characteristics to your user persona can help you understand how your users make decisions. 

You can add details such as:

  • Daily tasks

  • Frequency of product use

  • Interactions with particular product features

  • Buying habits

  • Decision-making processes

  • Hobbies

Step 4: Create a narrative

With the information, create a narrative that ties everything together. 

Use your user persona's demographics, goals, and behaviors to create a backstory to connect with them emotionally. 

A user persona narrative should include details such as:

  • Personal life details

  • Detailed pain points

  • Needs and wants

  • A description of their day-to-day life

Step 5: Incorporate the personas into the product design

Finally, use the personas to inform the design and development of your product or service. 

Ensure you keep the persona’s characteristics in mind throughout the process. Develop features and designs that resonate with their preferences, motivations, and needs.  

User persona templates

You can use a user persona template to create different personas.

Each template format caters to specific needs and preferences. When creating user personas, it's essential to have a well-structured template that outlines important user information.

Thankfully, there are many high-quality options for online persona templates. These templates digitally represent your brand, complete with preset characteristics and guidelines to ensure a consistent voice across all channels 

You can use these different template types to create user personas:

Empathy map template

An empathy map helps you understand your users emotionally by focusing on their feelings, thoughts, and actions. This empathy map template from Miro helps you create personas to resonate with your audience.

Then, import customer data and use these empathy mapping tags inside Dovetail to highlight key moments and start tracking themes. Group your tags in a board-view to reflect what your users say, think, feel, and do.

Digital tagging templates

This digital tagging template type links your user personas to real-world qualitative data. Tagging your personas in customer interviews, surveys, and other research creates valuable insights into how your users think and behave.

Hubspot's Make My Persona

The Make My Persona tool guides you through a series of questions to help you develop a detailed user persona, including demographics, goals, challenges, and objections.

It helps businesses understand their ideal customers and tailor their messaging and marketing strategies accordingly.

The template guides the creation of buyer personas that include demographic information, personality traits, and pain points. This ensures that marketing campaigns are targeted and resonate with potential customers.

Dovetail's marketing personas template

Dovetail’s template is geared toward creating detailed profiles of your product's users.

It includes sections for demographic data, behaviors, goals, and information about the user's experience with your product.

Creating a user persona makes it easier to identify pain points and tailor your product to your customer's needs.

Software persona template

User persona templates are available for specific industries or software products.

For example, Dovetail’s software persona tagging template is specifically for software companies to better understand the needs and frustrations of platform users. It includes sections for user behavior, goals, pain points, and more.

Whichever template you choose, tailor your user personas to your business and audience.

Use these templates as a starting point, but feel free to customize them to your needs.

Remember to use accurate data and regularly update your templates to reflect the changing environment of your business and target audience.

User persona templates

Provide an invaluable boost to your UX strategy by developing a deeper understanding of your target audience.

Use template

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