Designing for Community: Why Community Personas Matter

Nelet Kok
October 24, 2022

Last week we dived into user profiles and we learned that designing for a community (e.g. DC tourism zones) is a complex and nuanced task. And to do a great job, we need to know who we are targeting and what they like. It's about more than understanding the wants and needs of your users; it's also about understanding the community you're designing for (e.g. DC tourism zones). This is where community personas come in. Community personas are fictional, generalized representations of a community that help us understand the who, what, when, where, and why of that community. They can be used as part of the creative process to help inform product strategy and design decisions.

In this article, we'll explore what community personas are and why they matter.

The difference between user profiles and community personas

In one sentence: same same, but different.

User profiles are about individual users and help us understand what people need from our brand. User profiles are based on the brand team' idea of the ideal user or customer.

Community personas help us understand the community we're designing for, it's based on research from current users or customers and their habits and interaction with the brand or business.

With a user profile, we'll talk about whether the user is male or female, their age bracket, their income and education. Community personas go into much more detail as their job title, work experience, dreams, goals and challenges. How they use technology, most used apps and their most commonly used phrases also come into play. Community personas are like writing back stories for fictional characters, except these characters are part of the community that use your product or service.

Example of a community persona

One community persona done for a Door County NGO

Why is it needed in the creative process?

The role of community personas runs to understanding your target audience better, and when I say better, I mean in-depth! There are three reasons why the creative process greatly benefits from the community persona process.

  1. Create empathy for community members’ experiences
  2. Envision unique programs for members to meet their specific needs
  3. Craft and test calls to action and other pivotal decisions about your community.

#TweakTip: This process is best attempted after thorough research is done within your existing community. Creating more than one persona, with the help of a reputable agency, like Tweak Marketing Agency, will help you get a well-rounded view of the people you're targeting and leave you with a ton of insight, information, strategies and ideas on how to best reach your community.

To sum it all up, user profiles give us information about individual users while community personas give us information about the community as a whole. Community personas can be used as part of the creative process to help inform product strategy and design decisions.

If you're looking for more information about persona creation, or want some help getting started, Tweak Marketing Agency is here for you! We are a Door County Agency, with unique insights into the ways, DC tourism, culture and tradition in this glorious region!

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