Why Personas and Understanding your User Matters
Fulfilling your users requirements and business requirements can be tough. However, by taking a holistic view of your users scenarios and needs can allow you to reach both your users requirements and business requirements easier. As a User Experience Designer for Verizon I find it extremely important to understand your targeted audience before starting any project. Whether you are building a mobile application, a new product or website understanding your users will go a long way.
Prior to working on Verizon’s communication team (with a great number of talented co-workers), I was a lead designer for our Personalization Team. On Verizon’s Personalization Team I was responsible for creating experiences that would be used for A/B tests on verizonwireless.com. If you are not familiar with an A/B test that is alright. Before working for Verizon, I was not familiar with the term ‘A/B testing’ before either. An A/B test is way for you to find out if ‘Page A’ preforms better than ‘Page B’. On the Personalization Team we used A/B testing as a way to collect analytics on the performance of copy, design,imagery and experiences between these two web pages.
 Verizon Wireless Homepage Homepage Screenshot.
The hardest part about being a Lead Designer for the Personalization Team was fulfilling the users requirements and business requirements for our A/B tests. The business requirements always went against brand and best user experience practices. For an example, I would receive requests to make the CTA (Call to action) more prominent and larger, increase the font size or add an explanation mark at the end of our headlines. All of these strategies were severely off Verizon’s brand. However, the Test Leads would insist to give it a go.”It is just a test Diana, only 50% of our prospects would receive this experience on verizonwireless.com.” they would say. It was very difficult to not fall into this trap of using bad practices. Especially, since I knew these strategies would increase our users click ratio. However, would not be the right experience for our users.
To bring our team and Test Leads back on the same page I would present user personas and common user scenarios for each test we preformed whenever we derailed from our user’s requirements. By stressing the importance of designing a holistic experience for our users that was on brand always did the trick for us. Creating personas based on actual user data is a great way to build and improve your product’s UX (Noetzel, 2018, Par 1). This is a very similar lesson “Satisfy the Cat, a.k.a User-Centered Design” video teaches us. Sometimes you just need to put your users’ needs in front of your business partners to bring everyone back on the same page for an assignment.
Noetzel, Tim. How To Improve Your Design Process With Data-Based Personas. Web. 24 Jan. 2019. https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/04/design-process-data-based-personas/.
Satisfy the Cat, a.k.a User-Centered Design. Web. 24 Jan. 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dln9xDsmCoY.
Baxter, Kathy. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc. Print. Understanding your Users: A Practical Guide to User Research Methods. July 2015.
 Verizon Wireless. MacBook Pro Screenshot. Web. verizonwireless.com. 25 January 2019.
 Pixel Photos. Team Photo. 22 January 2019. Web. https://www.pexels.com/photo/colleagues-cooperation-fist-bump-fists-398532/.