“We’ve made a design so simple and so easy that anyone can use it.”
Whenever someone wants to promote an interface, the first thing they focus on is the ease of use, and how ‘everyone’ will like it. A designer will tell you, though, that you cannot design for everyone unless you are making Oreo cookies, of course, but even they are not for everyone. However, the more pressing question is, “Who are you designing for, if not everyone?”
A persona and the primary persona, to be specific, is whom we design for.
Research is the first and foremost phase of design, and a persona is its most valuable outcome. A persona summarizes crucial data that links social, psychological, and emotional aspects of a typical target user’s behavior. Getting the right insight at this stage is invaluable when it comes to perfecting User Experience. Psychographics significantly add qualitative insights into the process of creating personas.
Jeremy Smith says, “Psychographic sounds like voodoo”. Sure it does, seeing how it shares a root word with psychosis and psycho, amongst others. That said, the only thrilling part about it is the fact that, used efficiently, they help determine personas that work better in today’s world. The personas that come out of psychographics help to categorize the target user base better and express more evolved design goals, as compared to personas created otherwise.
Psychographics is the study and classification of people based on their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria. A concept that has taken the limelight with the 2016 US presidential election, but history shows us that it is nothing new. It has been around since the early ’70s, and its ability to help design better products is why UX Designers should be using it.
A popular method of dividing markets based on the psychology and lifestyle habits of users. Companies use this technique to decide upon their strategy while designing products. Users are segmented using psychographic variables like Interests, Activities, and Opinions (IAO). Designers analyze these three factors, in addition to a plethora of other factors such as lifestyle, behavior, habits, attitudes, and cognitive biases, primarily to understand the psyche of the users.
Psychographics Help Design Better Products
The purpose of psychographics is to deliver impactful designs, which they do by identifying the factors influencing the conversion of target users. The resultant data helps designers empathize with the users and understand their activities, which eventually helps create designs that show better results.
One might ask, “Don’t we have demographics for that?” That’s a common misconception.
Demographics present statistical information of the human population, segmenting the market, missing out on the emotional front. While demographics explain who our users are, psychographics helps us identify why they use our product – the very information that one needs to internalize while creating User Stories and Personas.
A Sample Psychographic Persona
To emphasize the same, here’s a persona of a potential user for an e-commerce application. Notice how demographics contribute to only 25% of the entire picture, and other factors (primarily psychographics) are the major deciding factors that influence both design and business choices.
This persona incorporates basic demographics as well as evaluations from psychographics and helps group people based on specific and qualitative characteristics that affect business. Best of both worlds!
Interesting, but where is all this information coming from?
How to Collect Psychographic Data
In today’s era of big data and consumer-generated data, it is fairly easy to gather the required data for psychographic factors, even if they seem intricate and personal.
Extensive and exhaustive searches on user activities and interests are the best ways to collect psychographic information. Focus groups, surveys, website analytics, browsing data, social media, and good old’ observation can help immensely in gathering the qualitative data we are looking for. The goal is to accumulate reliable and quantifiable data from sources that are as complex and distinct as user aspirations, can be, and to create products that mean something to the users.
Will we ever work without user interfaces? Maybe, a century from today when we have garnered enough mental power to be performing processes without external tools. But until that far away time, let’s ease up the lives of our users and leave them with not just futuristic and beautiful UI but with meaningful experiences.