Let’s face it. Personas are the two-dimensional red-headed stepchild of the UX profession. They’re labor intensive and usually condemned to having the life span of a fruit fly. With Axure, they don’t have to be. You can breathe new life into your personas by making them more actionable and memorable, thus helping to keep them relevant throughout the entire design process. Let’s make personas in Axure!
First of all, personas are insanely easy to make with Axure. Drag-n-drop various text and shape widgets to create the headers and content for your persona. From the Widget Properties Pane, you can add visual appeal to your personas with color and gradients to achieve the desired fidelity. Also, you can apply the appropriate typographical characteristics for an optimal reading experience. For a more comprehensive explanation of typography in Axure, checkout Proto Pete’s quick tutorial on Axure Typography.
Making sure your personas get into the right stakeholders’ hands is a breeze. Axure’s Specification Generator allows you to export your personas to a Word document. You can evencustomize your own Word templates to match your organization’s document styles and branding.
No need to export your personas as images. Publishing your personas to AxShare generates an online prototype viewable in a web browser. Not only is this a convenient way to share information with your team, but it guarantees they’re always looking at the most recent version of the personas.
Rest assured, I’m not touting Axure as a replacement for InDesign or Google Drive. In the hands of a seasoned professional, any of these tools, together or alone, can accomplish any of the above, sometimes more efficiently than Axure. However, what you can’t do with these tools is integrate your personas as dynamic, interactive components of your Axure prototype.
Link your personas to other IA documents created in Axure—such as sitemaps, flow diagrams, wireframes, and interactive prototypes—to make them more accessible and relevant throughout the design process.
We are always looking for new ways to illustrate user research in our personas. We add high-quality photos, infographics, tables, and quotes to make reading the persona engaging and memorable. This is where Axure shines. Adding interactions to your personas creates a comprehensive experience, thus making them more actionable and memorable throughout the design process. These interactions include Google Chart API, embedding YouTube videos, or even sound (tutorial for this coming soon!).
The sky’s the limit here! What could you add to your personas to kick them up a notch?
Personas bring focus, encourage consensus, and most importantly they help build empathy within your production team. Ultimately, this should drive design decisions, but only if the personas are an integral and collaborative part of the design process. If you’re like me, and Axure is a major tool in your workflow, using Axure to make personas will do just that. So, use your imagination and give it your best shot. And please, let me know how it turns out!