Persona Spectrum: Design With Not For

August 10, 2023
3 minutes read

Persona Spectrum is the new black. It aids in understanding related mismatches and motivations across a spectrum over different scenarios. It is beneficial in dealing with a wide range of users’ needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals.

Why use a persona spectrum when I already have user personas? Does it feel like a riddle? Well, let’s begin to unriddle it.

Recapping User Personas

A user persona represents a user type that might use your services, products, sites, or brands similarly or the other. A well-researched, coherent, and data-driven user persona is advantageous in product development, sales strategies, and marketing campaigns.

Personas quickly took off, and for a good reason, they give a better understanding of our customers’ needs. But since then, we’ve realized certain limitations with personas.

1. Insignificant Efforts on Research

A hypothesis built based on a single persona due to a lack of effort in research can lead to single-use design work. This defeats the purpose of leveraging personas for customer-centric designs.

2. Low User Adoption and Acceptance

A product design that captivates some and not others can lead to product failure and low acceptance. That is why there is a need to understand the users’ emotions and make intelligent personas so that the product is adopted and accepted.

3. Ineffective for Special Needs

Most of the time, user personas represent an average user and do not consider people with special needs like people with hearing disabilities or visually challenged. Such a design is created for everyone but no one at all.

4. Lack of Empathy

Empathy in a design is a must. The user’s behavior should be considered to avoid any minute difference between the emotions and practicality of design.

Enter Persona Spectrum

Inclusive design emphasizes our responsibility to solve mismatches between humans and their products, environments, and social structures. A persona spectrum empowers us to do just that. It is a design methodology that enables one to draw from the full range of human diversity by taking into account variations revealing changes in users’ ambitions and pain points.

The solutions discovered are helpful to the users with certain limitations but can also be used by those who face temporary, situational, or permanent constraints.

Application of Persona Spectrum in Real life

Amazon is known for its fast and efficient delivery. But there was a segment of users (working professionals) dissatisfied. The main reason causing this dissatisfaction was the rise of package theft or packages lying outside the whole day. This gave birth to the Amazon Hub.

Amazon Hub is a worldwide network of secure pickup locations for your Amazon packages. Instead of choosing home delivery when you order, you can ship to a nearby Amazon Locker or Counter location and pick up your Amazon order when it’s convenient for you. All Amazon lockers offer accessibility features, including talking lockers, more prominent and high contrast touchscreen text, and a lower locker slot preference to support blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, and mobility impaired customers.

Amazon used the persona spectrum strategy to solve mismatched interactions between a person and a system and helped them align to user needs better.

Key takeaways of persona spectrum

Even persona spectrums can be inherently biased and assumptive if not based on solid research and the kind of empathy that comes from truly understanding a user’s challenges. Here are some key takeaways from what we have learned so far.

  • Focus on a range of customer motivations, contexts, abilities, and circumstances.
  • ‘Design with not for’ the customers.
  • Provides better services by being empathetic towards them.

Wondering how you and your team can start leveraging the persona spectrum? Learn how you can use Prodeasy’s persona canvas to begin experimenting with the persona spectrum.