Mastering user personas.

Profile photo of Emma Campbell

Emma Maguire (née Campbell)

June 11, 2024

Screenshot of a user persona template in Notion. It is overlaid on a close up photograph of a paddock gate hooked shut.

Documenting the different types of people who will use your product or service is a helpful way to ensure you’re designing for the right reasons. It helps keep your team aligned and can be a great way to showcase and validate to investors that you’ve done your research. User personas tell your business’s story to all stakeholders internally and externally. After all, your business is about solving problems for real people, and without their insights, making strategic decisions is much more challenging.

What are user personas?

Think of user personas as detailed profiles of your ideal customers. They’re based on market research and real data about your existing users. These personas help you better understand your customers, making it easier to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to meet their needs, behaviours, and concerns.

Why are user personas important?

For you.

When you’re just starting out, you’ve identified a problem and know who you’re solving it for. But often, this information stays in your head, and it’s easy to assume everyone else knows it, too. Documenting this knowledge helps uncover deeper insights into why you’re designing for these users, tells their story and highlights gaps in knowledge.

For your team.

User personas become an essential resource as your team grows. When onboarding new team members, user persona documents provide a clear story of the types of people who use your solution. From day one, they get an in-depth view of your user base, an understanding of what they’re working towards and who they’re serving. Personas also serve as a handy reference when making decisions, keeping the team aligned with user needs.

For investors.

User personas demonstrate to investors that you’re validating your thought process rather than making decisions based on guesses. They help investors understand who you’re solving problems for and why. This encourages investors to empathise with your target audience and highlights the value you’re providing.

How to create user personas.

Creating user personas isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Think of them as a mix of characteristics that answer who, what, when, where, and why. Each persona represents a group of your target users with different needs or motivations. Aim to create 3-5 personas, focusing on your most common user types. Start by modelling them on real people you’ve talked to, making them as realistic as possible.

Information to collect.

To define your persona, we recommend highlighting these important areas:

  1. Role: Describe the main tasks and responsibilities of the person experiencing the problem you’re trying to solve. Who do they work with or report to? You can also include some demographic information if it can help inform how you need to design your product or service. This could include: age, gender, location, family & relationships and income.

  2. Farm/business information: Describe the environment they work in and how it is managed. For a farm, this might include the size of the land, number of workers, type of production, amount of livestock or crops, management style, and machinery use. For a business, detail the size, number of employees, type of clients and customers, services offered, working hours, and any other details to set the scene for their current experience.
  3. What problems/challenges are they experiencing? Identify the problems your business aims to solve. Include recurring issues or inefficiencies that hinder productivity or cause frustration, management challenges, problems with technology, data collection and decision-making issues, environmental challenges, economic pressures affecting operations, market demands, regulatory compliance issues, limitations in knowledge, and sustainability goals.
  4. How would [your product or service] solve these problems? Explain how your solution addresses the problems identified above. It’s ok if your solution doesn’t solve all the problems. Your strategy may involve specialising in a specific area or seeking partnerships to bridge those gaps.
  5. Motivations: Identify what drives the person to perform their job, tasks, or make decisions. Motivations could include personal values, relationships, interests, financial goals, business objectives, and more.
  6. Goals: Detail the specific tasks or objectives the person is trying to achieve. These could be short-term or long-term goals related to their work or personal aspirations.
  7. Knowledge and experience: Assess how much the person already knows about solving the problem area. Evaluate their level of experience and identify any gaps in knowledge or skills they might have.
  8. Hardware and technology usage: Describe the equipment, hardware, or technology the person currently uses to complete their tasks. Detail their experiences with this technology, noting whether it is helpful or frustrating. Include where, when, and how they use the technology.
  9. Risks: Identify potential risks or challenges that could arise if the person uses your solution. Consider external factors influencing their experience or effectiveness with your product or service.

Getting started with a Notion template.

Taking the first step can be tough, but we’ve got you covered with a free User Personas template on Notion. It includes all the focus areas mentioned above and is ready for you to fill in.

Screenshot of the research entry template in Notion.
Screenshot of the research entry template in Notion.

Click here to access the User Personas template. Once it’s open, click ‘Duplicate’ near the top right of the page. Sign in or create a free Notion account, and the template will be yours to customise. If you have any issues, please reach out to us at

Final notes.  

User personas are living documents that should evolve as you learn more about your users. As your business grows and your problem space changes, you might need to add new profiles. Review your user personas every six months to keep them up to date and ensure they remain a valuable resource for your team and stakeholders. By investing time in creating and maintaining user personas, you lay a solid foundation for making informed, user-centred decisions that drive your business forward.

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