User Portrait of User Operation

7 min readDec 18, 2020


For strategy formulation and product design, collecting a variety of user data is very valuable, but sometimes you will ignore the real people behind the statistics.

Therefore, by creating user portraits, you can make your users more real. User portraits are fictional characters that can represent the needs of the entire real user. By assigning a character’s face and name, you re-associate the scattered data obtained during user surveys and user segmentation. User portraits can help you ensure that users are always in mind during the entire design process.

This article discusses the experience with you from three aspects: the concept of user portrait, the importance of creating a portrait, and how to create a user portrait. There are many similar articles. I organized the articles systematically in a way that is easier for ordinary people to understand and accept, and enter the text below.

What is a user portrait?

1. Concept definition

User portraits (Personas), also known as personas, are a tagged user model abstracted based on information such as users’ social attributes, living habits, and consumer behavior, that is, virtual representatives of real users.

To understand users through user research, divide them into different types according to their goals, behaviors and opinions, and then extract typical features from each type, and assign names, photos, some demographic elements, scenes and other descriptions , It forms a user portrait.

2. Constituent elements

The constituent elements of user portraits are mainly divided into two categories: basic elements and rich elements.

(1) The basic elements include: name, photo, age, income, occupation, knowledge of computer skills;

(2) The rich elements include: target motivation, family status, company, hobbies, personal quotations, etc.

Why build user portraits?

1. Importance

(1) In order to allow team members to put aside their personal preferences in the process of product design, focus on the motivation and behavior of target users for product design. Therefore, user portraits can make the product’s service objects more focused and more focused .

(2) Designing products for specific characters is far better than designing for fictitious things in your mind. When all the people involved in the product discuss and make decisions based on consistent users, it is easy to restrain all parties from being able to stay in the same position. In a general direction, improve the efficiency of decision-making.

2. Matters needing attention

a. User portraits should be based on real data;

b. When there are multiple user portraits, the priority of user portraits needs to be considered. It is usually recommended not to design products for more than three user portraits, which is likely to cause conflicts of requirements;

c. User portraits are constantly being revised.

How to create a user portrait?

1. Suggestion

The best practice is to conduct meticulous research and create user portraits of the product in the early stages of product development.

However, after the actual product was launched, it was found that the actual user had a relatively large deviation from the previously imagined user, and the product architecture designed based on the previously imagined user could hardly bear the needs of the actual user. At this time, the first task is still to define the target users of the product.

2. Three steps

(1) Collect and analyze user information;

(2) Segment user groups;

(3) Establish and enrich user portraits.

Step 1: Collect and analyze user information

1. The role of information collection

As with all research, we must first determine the types of users interviewed, design research plans and research outlines.

Since the purpose of research is to create user portraits, we should investigate as many different users as possible. Through brainstorming with colleagues in different departments to find out various possible user types, we may get a list of conditions, and then we can invite users based on these conditions, three of each type for research.

2. Methods of collection and analysis

User research methods mainly include: user interview method, questionnaire survey method, focus group method, brainstorming method, etc.

3. Give a chestnut

Taking “Baidu Cloud-Enterprise Edition” as an example, a questionnaire survey of Baidu Cloud users found that most of the existing users are not particularly satisfied with the way file sharing at work, and one third of the users are willing to pay to purchase more experience. Good cloud products, so there are opportunities in existing users.

Step 2: Segment the user base

1. Why segment the user base?

Different user groups have different goals, behaviors, and viewpoints. Subdividing user groups can make the problem clear, and it also serves as a basis for prioritizing user portraits. For example, when a product is very complex, we may need to consider the priority of its user profile for different modules.

2. How to segment the user base?

We use research to understand users, divide them into different types based on their goals, behaviors, and opinions, and extract typical characteristics from each type, give them a name, a photo, some demographic elements, The description of the scene, etc., forms a user portrait.

3. Matters needing attention

The key to distinguish different user types is the user’s goal and motivation for using the product, past/present/future behavior, rather than demographic characteristics such as gender, age, and region.

4. Give a chestnut

According to the different goals and needs of the product, users are divided into three types.

Step 3: Establish and enrich user portraits

1. Why enrich the portrait?

Because this part is a key step that will give the user the soul of the portrait, it will make it more vivid and three-dimensional, comparable to “the finishing touch.”

We have obtained a lot of boring and messy basic data in the early stage. In order to make the user portrait play a role in product design, we must make it alive. This requires us to analyze the data carefully and give the user portrait more elements to make it three-dimensional and harmonious. Full, the data is regularly kneaded into a living user model to participate in the subsequent product design.

2. How to enrich the portrait?

In addition to adding the basic elements that constitute the user portrait, we use other elements to enrich the portrait, such as: target motivation, family status, company, hobbies, personal quotations, scenes, etc., to make the characters more lifelike, but some specific details Can be fictitious.

3. Give a chestnut

Taking a certain shopping app project as an example, through the collection and analysis of early user information, the user group was subdivided, and the following two main user portraits were polished. The subsequent product design will be developed around them.

4. Matters needing attention

In the process of user portraits, there is a very important concept called granularity, which is how detailed our user portraits should be.

To take an extreme example, if the finest granularity of the “user portrait” should be as fine as every specific life scene of each user, this is basically an impossible task; at the same time, if the granularity of the user portrait Too big, the guiding significance for product design is relatively small, so it is extremely important to grasp the overall richness of the portrait.

  1. It is meaningless to only create user portraits without involving them in product design and development, promotion and operation decisions.

2. What kind of “user portrait” method to use must be combined with the actual needs and costs of the project, and dogmatism must be rejected. The method is dead, people are alive, and all “on the line” design methods are hooligan!

3. The promotion of user portraits in the team is very important. In the early stage of the project, team members will be increased in discussion, team members will be invited to participate in the creation of user portraits in the mid-term, and later sharing and discussion will allow everyone to recognize and agree with user portraits.

4. As time goes by, everyone’s understanding and thinking about the target user will be different. Therefore, it is required to carry out regular visits to users in the team, encourage everyone to continue to walk into users, and share what they see and hear, so as to continuously strengthen and unify the team’s understanding of target users, and to perceive the market in time. Keep the user portrait updated and vitality according to the changes of users.